The path to worldwide online success is becoming less defined, with many retailers picking models and markets that suit their needs, rather than following the path being tread by others.
However, there are some overarching trends in global ecommerce that all e-tailers can benefit from knowing – and international analyst Forrester has pulled together some of those together. If you’re wondering how to expand your online business in 2015, here are 5 developments worth bearing in mind:
Look beyond opening new retail space
Increasingly, brands are looking for affordable, limited risk routes when establishing their presence in new markets, and this means turning away from traditional bricks and mortar expansion. For example, marketplaces such as Amazon are a good toe in the water exercise – however it’s worth bearing in mind that this approach relies on retail businesses integrating Amazon order management platforms with other systems, to avoid inventory imbalances or stock outs.
Invest in mCommerce
As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, mobile will drive major ecommerce promotions in 2015, and those retailers not investing in their mCommerce strategy risk falling behind. Certain markets in particular are experiencing an incredibly rapid rise of mobile retail; China and India are two worthy mentions, while Brazil is proving one of the key markets for tablet-based transactions.
Asia is an opportunity that can’t be ignored
The rise of Chinese ecommerce has been one of the biggest retail trends of the past two years, and its maturity has reached the stage where retailers who want to establish a successful international presence can no longer afford not to trade in Asia. It’s estimated that online shopping revenues increased 16-fold over the past five years, and netted ecommerce retailers $440 billion in 2014.
Being successful means knowing your customers
The wider geographical area that retailers trade in, the more important it is to understand consumer behaviour in each territory. Particularly in the case of ecommerce, every country has its own shopping culture – from style preferences and marketing response levels to payment and delivery. Trying to apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach to trading online internationally simply won’t work; thorough market research and continual analysis of data from web and amazon order management systems are key to mastering market preferences.
Be realistic with international goals
It’s very tempting for e-tailers to get sucked into thinking that international expansion equals world domination – this simply isn’t the case! In today’s incredible competitive market, ecommerce businesses are always chasing the next big trend or emerging market, and only a few will be lucky enough to land in the right place at the right moment. In reality, online retailers can put themselves in a stronger long term position by focusing on low risk entry and steady growth.