Cross Border Trade solutions: make the most of the key drivers of ecommerce
Pizza Hut was one of the first big brands to experiment with e-commerce in 1994. This may surprise you as you might have never suspected that the first online purchase was not a mobile phone, a book or a pair of jeans. It was pizza and orders were placed more locally. Since that time a lot has changed. Today, Pizza Hut is not necessarily a major trendsetter in the world of e-commerce and online orders have gone beyond local. So what is e-commerce today? Today’s e-commerce is a global enterprise that brings to mind international marketplaces, digital revolution, mobile devices and the omnipresence of social media. This may mean one thing for many e-tailers: expand your global presence.
eCommerce has gone global
Global expansion is facilitated by the current trends driving e-commerce. And, vice-versa, current trends are fuelled by global expansion. Gone are the days in which marketplaces were dominated by a single marketplace. Today, many emerging marketplaces (China, Brazil, Indonesia) are booming. They offer gaps that can be exploited by sellers from mature, established marketplaces which are experiencing growth downturn.
At present, 36% of all online sales come from Asia, 60% of which from China where online spending is estimated to reach USD 1 trillion by 2019. This growth will come about thanks to mobile apps and improved logistics networks, enabling sellers to reach millions of consumers in small towns.
Globalisation and the widespread use of the Internet have made it possible for sellers to offer their products in any country and for the buyer to shop and browse products on foreign sites.Today’s global marketplace provides a faster avenue to enter: cross border trading flourishes.
So what is cross border trade driven by?
- DIGITAL REVOLUTION & M-COMMERCE: mobile devices and social media are changing the way people access information, communicate and buy online. In general, more consumers are becoming tech savvy. This, in turn, broadens the scope of use of mobile devices, including mobile shopping.
- NON-STOP COMMUNICATION & AVAILABILITY: in the era of Facebook and social media, the consumer is available online anytime and anyplace. Hence, consumers demand instant access to information, hoping for answers as soon as questions arise.
- BORDERLESS E-COMMERCE: where the language barrier is finally overcome. Now special tools and services help global sellers to achieve efficient communication with foreign buyers.
- GLOBAL SHIPPING: increase in flexible shipping options and fulfillment services. Generally, global shipping prices are lower and free shipping options are not infrequent, which is a good incentive motivating cross border online transactions.
- PAYMENT: the possibility to pay online as opposed to the physical act of handing over cash drives the world of virtual purchases. The practicality of online money transfers translates into increased readiness to shop in all parts of the world. By the same token, people put more trust in online and electronic means of payment, including mobile purchase or payment via apps.
- RICH CONSUMER DATA: online shopping experience and technology allow sellers to collect a lot of valuable data on their consumers and their buying habits. It is also easy to track their visits to the website and their behaviour. This is very helpful in understanding what can make or break a conversion deal.
- OPERATIONS EFFICIENCY & AUTOMATION: the possibilities and scale of cross border trading change the ways businesses are operating. Efficient planning of resources and actions is required, including logistics, customer service, payment processing and regulatory considerations.
- CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS: there is a lot of competition on global marketplaces. Hence, the buyer can afford to demand products and services that meet their utmost expectations. This results in better prices, competitive product quality and enhanced customer service: all to win the demanding online consumer.
The special role of mCommerce and mobile marketing
According to stats from Smart Insights (2015), mobile media time is higher (51%) in the US compared to desktop (42%). Other world e-commerce leaders are following suit. The implication is clear: mobiles must present your business and your services in a user-friendly way, enhancing buyers’ shopping experience.
In terms of mobile consumer researching products, most of the 950 US buyers surveyed across different categories start on search engines, followed by branded websites and branded apps.
How purchases are researched via mobile
Source: Smart Insights
However, it should be stressed that when it comes to conversion rates, smartphone add-to-cart and conversion rates are lower in comparison to desktop. This may have to do with the user-unfriendliness of some sites on mobile devices.
Tap into the key eCommerce drivers
Tap into the mobile, global and social dimensions of the current trends driving e-commerce. Build your brand awareness in your markets of interest, paying particular attention to the local market, the power of social media and m-commerce.
You don’t have do it with aggressive advertising or push-marketing techniques. Instead you can work on creating the image of an expert and source of knowledge in your business area.
Social media and informational sites can help you achieve this and make consumers come back to you. Start discussions on the hottest topics in your field and turn visits and conversations into conversions and increased sales.
When entering new markets, you always have to take into account brand, financial and operational risks. Explore many options that can work for your business, its size and the product/s that you offer.
- You can outsource to external companies for order fulfillment.
- You can add international shipping to your existing domestic website.
- You can liaise with a local partner who will help you enter the new market. This will allow you to take advantage of existing infrastructure, customer base and secure payment systems.
- Ensure you have a local market URL. e.g. .co.uk, .de, .fr, .it, .cn) to build trust in your target market.
- You must work around details, e.g. localised content, adjusted product specs, social media site preferences, smartphone adoption rates or most effective channels for promotion and digital marketing (email, mobile, paid search, social media, etc)
In a nutshell…
By following the current e-commerce trends and implementing them into the scope of your business, you stay attuned to the dynamic of consumer behaviour. E-commerce trends are changing too fast for everyone to survive in this fast-paced environment. Hence, you need to stay on top of the latest developments in both domestic and cross border trade.
Remember that the savvy consumer of today demands instant access to information and convenience when it comes to browsing and buying experiences.
By staying up-to-date and acting accordingly, not only can you survive in the competitive world of online sales, but you can also thrive and drive big changes for your business. 26% of products added to shopping carts are abandoned and the purchase is never finalised. Make sure that your items are not included in these stats!
Want to read more about Cross Border Trade? Check 7 factors that can make or break your international sales deal.