Internet Retailing states that from US $ 1.9 trillion in 2022, cross-border e-commerce is set to exceed US $ 2.1 trillion by 2023. The immense popularity of cross-border sales as an e-commerce mode and the increasing success of marketplaces are some of the factors that have led to this 13 per cent growth. The pandemic has further boosted the e-commerce revenue both in emerging and established economies globally. The retailers should, therefore, grab the opportunity to expand and reach their customers in different parts of the world.
More and more people today are financially and technologically capable to shop online and secure fair prices for the products that they buy which may not be possible in case of local buying. Even businesses world over are always on the quest to offer quality products at reasonable prices in order to succeed over their competitors, stimulating the need for an efficient cross-border business model.
How to build a lucrative cross-border business strategy?
According to Forrester’s report, cross-border e-commerce is set to break the US $ 1 trillion barrier in 2022, making up a grand total of 20 per cent of e-commerce as a whole. Though cross-border selling might seem challenging initially due to its complex structure, it is not impossible to attain if one breaks down the entire business module into smaller, simplified steps.
A successful international expansion plan requires a complete analysis and strategising of global marketplaces. Firstly, the brands need to identify the principal market to expand and analyse the market trends, customer demands, expectations, competitions, dynamics of the market, etc. Once these points are cleared, it can help in deciding a plan to reach them and maintain the brand relevance according to the market.
The other very important factor is your target audience as no matter how unique a product is, it’s not always easy to convince the local customers. Also, it’s important to communicate with customers in the local language; any content from websites, images, infographics and newsletters should be communicated in the local language to build up trust and connection with the brand. Since local customers use different search items to find their products, brands risk their products not being seen if they do not adopt localised language.
Moreover, brands need to identify and analyse their international competitors’ pricing, channels and terminology in order to optimise their entry-level strategy. They have to ensure that their prices are at par if not more than the prices offered for similar products by their competitors. Leveraging niche, regional channels can even help accelerate sales for the brands in specific regions.
Another most important thing for them is to be aware of all the foreign legal regulations for businesses to avoid any unnecessary allegations and problems.
A pioneer in global e-commerce market, Amazon is leading at the top with its cloud computing services for individuals and businesses and wide array of products such as books, consumer electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toy and jewellery. Having created a new trend amongst online buyers be it through its prime membership program or Amazon Pay, it is indeed a tough competitor for other online retailers. Magento is another renowned company promoting cross-border e-commerce with flexible, scalable and secure platform solutions. Bonanza.com, providing high quality products at affordable prices, makes consumer’s shopping experience stress-free. With its years of success and excellence in e-commerce, it is a name to reckon with. Lazada, acquired by Alibaba, boasts of 3 million sellers and 550 million products for sale on its site. It is indeed the number one e-commerce site in Southeast Asia.
Technological solutions that support cross-border business operations
Emerging technologies are enabling more and more brands to move into untapped markets to grow their e-commerce market. According to BigCommerce, cross-border technologies enable brands to reach and study demographics in different countries, simplify cross-border shipping and logistics, build segregated go-to market approaches varying from country to country.
Managing the content of sales channels manually can be quite challenging, as every platform has its own standards of attributes and requirements which, if done manually, can take up a lot of time. Therefore, a centralised dashboard for all the different marketplaces can help retailers maintain consistency, reduce time to market and eliminate any redundant data to be published online. Vinculum Software Company, a Noida-based organisation into omnichannel retailing, has rolled out a solution to help retailers manage their online activities.
Its Vin Lister solution helps brands and retailers to manage different channels from a single dashboard. It also aims to help retailers digitise their catalogues. The sellers are required to fill an excel sheet describing their products with attributes including price point, SKU, images, etc. It is then validated by the company before pushing it to the marketplace that reduces the chances of rejection, market time and increases the time for sale. The solution then will immediately update all the platforms, making the product available for the customers as soon as possible, while maintaining the consistency of offerings and information.
Language Connect, a UK-based company, offers language translation service. The tech solution by the company helps retailers with complete translation of the content making it relevant for a particular audience and thus promotes localisation.
“When you look at the translation, there are so many things that you have to be flexible with depending on the type of content. You need to maintain the meaning and emotions of the brand that you want to bring to the local audience,” said Patience Seow, Senior Business Development Manager, Language Connect.
Content creation of the website is crucial, once the website has been developed. ODN Digital Services Pvt. Ltd., based in New Delhi, has come up with innovative content solution for e-commerce. It enables brand content creation wherein based on the data provided by the brand, the company creates images, photoshoots, content services, digital storytelling to offer a much deeper connection with the customers. AR and 3D technologies are also utilised to help customers understand the fit and sizing of products.
AI-based technologies help retailers automate the retail life cycle, thereby making it easier to manage e-commerce with its diversified requirements. These tools help in business analytics and enable to monitor the business performance. They also help in identification of business weaknesses and their rectification which can lead to better productivity and product analytics, generating greater ROI and other benefits. Enalto, based in Indore, is an e-commerce automation platform which helps in such business analytics by providing complete assessment of consumer behaviour and product performance. Its solutions focus on three core aspects which include – analytics to deliver the right product to the right customer; assister for AI personalisation to the customers; and promo for targeted promotions and email marketing.