Top 3 Retailers who are Mastering Cross-border Commerce

The advent of cross-border commerce has turned a game changer for the small and the medium-sized businesses. The online marketplaces have become a great investment for the online retailers. They have turned out big players and developed strategic partnerships amongst other foreign countries. This has helped them engage in both offline and online relations with various brands and customers.

While in the process, the customers also have evolved and involved a lot. They now focus on the brand shopping rather than the channel shopping. Moreover, they are more inclined towards the web rooms than the showrooms. This has completely blurred the line between the online and the offline shopping. To be specific, this has blurred the lines amongst different geographic locations.

The changing diaspora

  • With the on-growing demand for the global products and brands, there has been a constant rise in their presence in both online and offline catalogs.
  • E-commerce is gradually shaping up the world into a one-unified market. The strategy behind is to make the products and brands available locally and globally in the markets.
  • Cross-border commerce has been growing to make its presence crossing every geographical border.
  • By 2021, the Global B2C E-commerce might reach over $424 billion. This market share targets the E-commerce bloomers like Asia, North America, and Europe.

Here are 3 top brands and retailers who have scored high in the “International Retail Index” and have managed to master the cross-border commerce game with engaging customer experience over the years.

  • ASOS

ASOS, the great fashion hub and global retailer, is ranked number 3 in the International Retail Index. It has surpassed the likes of the leading brands like Aldi, Apple, and John Lewis. ASOS offers great fashion at even great prices. This brand has expanded globally over the countries like France, the US, Germany, and Spain over the last few years. David Green, the MD at ASOS, discussed how the brand leveraged the technology for an engaging customer experience.

For a frictionless experience to its customers, they integrated type-ahead address verification that enables the customers to quickly fill in their address. The team at ASOS easily captures the data and insights for a cleaner and more accurate checkout for its customers. The global retailer also has laid more emphasis over the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). This ensures the data capture happens in a compliant manner. Moreover, it sets the right balance between the customer experience and the compliance.

  • Sephora

The other Global Retailer that ranked 8th in the International Retail Index is Sephora. Ian McGarrigle’s, the chairman of the World Retail Congress selected this French brand for the World Retailer of the Year. He also stated that this French brand has leveraged every international opportunity for over 4 decades. It potentially monitors the customers’ behavior and the brand offerings. Today it globally operates in 30+ countries which include the US, China, and Italy.

Setting a benchmark with its global presence, this leading Global Retailer has seized the opportunity what Digitalization offers. It also analyzes the customer demands and the insights of their businesses. With such a strong customer base and digital platform engagement, this has been driving the youth fashion and continues to grow globally. Along with the digital approach, it has adopted the local intelligence. This helps the brand to understand the demands of its shoppers. It also betters the customized offerings to its customers for both local and online stores.

The most powerful feature is the social media engagement of the brand for its valuable shoppers. The Sephora Assistant feature available with the Facebook Messenger app allows the shoppers to easily book their items in the nearby stores.

  • Walmart

Robert Gregory, the Global Research Director for the Planet Retail RNG selected the Global brand Walmart. The brand ranks 9th in the International Retail Index. This brand has been a consistent player in the E-commerce world and the Retailer’s Market. Walmart has a strong physical presence in markets at over 30 places. Over the past few years, to make a digital presence over the global platforms, it has been continuously reinventing itself.

Walmart has already engaged digitally in the cross-border markets in countries like India and China. Recently, it made an investment in the Indian E-commerce giant Flipkart to set its roots in India. Flipkart has a strong customer base. The startup-turned-giant has been a leading E-commerce company in the retail market with over 100+ brands under its umbrella. The partnership between Walmart and Flipkart is likely to be a great business for both the parties and a great venture in the E-commerce and cross-border markets.

Top Market considerations to go Global through Cross-Border Commerce

Never in the history of the international commerce, trade has taken such a commendable leap in the sales and profits. This boosts the job opportunities, enhances the company’s prestige and offers a beneficial way for the businesses to expand. This also provides the businesses tonnes of opportunities and global exposure on a global platform. Whether it is a large scale business or an emerging startup aiming to go global, there is always a constant challenge to survive in this evolving market. However, there are certain factors that the businesses going international should take into consideration.

Prior to kicking off these factors, always consider key points:

  • Consumers: How can brands connect with intended consumer’s life?
  • Product: What value will the product add to their lifestyle?
  • Technology: Are you making the right choices in terms of technology?
  • Location: Are you making the right selection in the countries with the right set of investment?

So, before you embark on the journey of entering the cross-border trades, always consider these factors.

  • Conduct proper market research

Market research is an effective tool for identifying and exploring the best market that fits your product. Look at investing maximum time into a market evaluation. This gives you sufficient data and market insights while strategizing your go-to-market plans.

  • Define your business plan for entering the global markets.

Discussing, strategizing and planning is essential in order to define the business status, commitments and goals. This helps to enter the competitive global market and understand the strategies of your rivals. Determine which localized marketplaces you want to enter in. For instance, B2C, C2C or O2O fashion.

  • Choose the best product to hit the international markets

This is the most crucial factor in your company’s future depends on it. Choose your product or service diligently and wisely. Consider all the pros and cons of the product and its market analysis. Once done, plan and go for it.

  • Find cross-border customers.

First thing first. Without targeting your base customers you cannot proceed further. You should know who your customers will be. To start a business overseas, it is crucial to know them and where they reside.

  • Understand the consumer’s behaviour

A consumer rules the market. It is quite necessary to keep a track on their moves. If your target audience is youth, understand the trends and make investments accordingly. For instance, if the target is a 20-year old crowd, then in the U.S., merchants prefer more of Amazon than other eCommerce plans. But in China, it would not be the same. You might have to invest in a WeChat store or TMall.

  • Determine the investments for international expansion

Determine how much investment could you make? Strategize upon the ROI and the profit margins. Leverage all your market and data insights and analytics to make the right business investments in various international markets.

  • Do data analysis to predict how your product sale

Perform precise analysis of product sales as per specific geographic location. Understand the product rates and demands in the local markets of the countries. Decide how many units you would want to sell in a particular geographic location.

  • Build a website for a global purpose

Develop a website that has multilingual support. This helps to attract international customers and traders and communicate with them. Preferably, you can decide to choose English as the prime language and later on as you expand in the other geographical markets, you can add support for other languages.

  • Establish a method of export

Establishing a direct or indirect method of export matters a lot in the international business.

Businesses have to exercise over their ventures. Additionally, it is very important to seize an opportunity and plan a whole strategy.

  • Focus on pricing and determine the landing costs

Get customer reactions by testing out the product quality and price on them. Determine the landing costs, analyse later and negotiate if necessary.

  • Set up terms, conditions, policies and other financing options.

Set up terms of payment prior to product selling. Great businesses recommend not to sell an open account to a brand new customer. It is better to focus on the market policies for both local and global markets. And it is essential to check the financial options on the basis of the geographical areas.

Once you have a proper knowledge of these factors, the next step is syncing with the digital and physical experiences. This helps the merchants and consumers to get familiar with the brand and engage new buyers in the international market.

Conclusion

Regardless of the business size, cross-border commerce requires a significant investment of money or time and sometimes both. It is quintessential to focus on the landscape of where you are going to set up your business and what factors you will take into consideration. Together, these will aid to the critical components of success.

 

 

Top mid-market considerations for cross-border commerce

For mid-market brands, it is tough to prevail in many global markets since they are saturated with similar products. In this case, a full market evaluation before launch of cross-border is required, to identify competitors, take note of their activities, take note of what they fail to do and even understand the direction of the market and its perfect fit.

Winning globally for most companies is to acquire market share and retain customer interest consistently. Here are the top mid-market considerations for cross-border commerce that will ensure its success:

  • Make Technology an Enabler of Success

Automation is the key to be lean in international selling, with enough team time and space for promoting innovation.

Here are a few workflows for automation:

  1. Email Marketing – Create audience segments, and revisit them seasonally to ensure the pitch is aligned with brand messaging and as per the regional sensibilities.
  2. Product Information Management – Invest in a streamlined product information management (PIM) system to manage local content that will increase as you scale your operations. Be sure to include a repository for product information, content and media. Keep each country’s product catalog and content separated from each other.
  3. Order Processing – Do not let countries and markets get disintegrated into silos. Invest in connecting channels with strategic planning across the organization. One can even invest in ERP solutions or Shopify to get the order processing streamlined.

  • Defining Key Domains – Product Delivery, Logistics and Shipping

The core foundation of cross-border commerce is ensuring product delivery in-country. Logistics should be a vital function that needs to be addressed right from the first day. Mid-market merchants do it themselves, using warehouses or ship from a warehouse. Some use an affiliate, for the same.

Shipping shouldn’t affect profit margins. Hence it is important to localize management efforts with a dedicated resource on the ground within the region. When evaluating hiring personnel, do check how professionals understand building global teams. A key stakeholder in the place with global experience is useful in this regard.

Managing global resources from long distances means that there should be constant communication between stakeholders about the product, the brand’s tone, marketing message, vision, and the like so that specialists can mitigate any issues with localization with brand experience.

The in-country team needs to be conveyed about company’s top-level goals and how the market can help meet the goals.

Conclusion

Adequate localization, key stakeholders in-country, a local logistics provider with affordable shipping, and other regional factors need to be in place for mid-market organizations who are looking for success in cross-border commerce.