While talk of tariffs and Brexit and the sustainability of the economic boom in the United States create something of a roller coaster ride of optimism and despair, it’s wise to keep an eye on the big picture and the long run.
Taking that view, there has rarely been a better time for retailers to expand into cross-border markets. Nielsen reports that 57% of consumers worldwide said they have bought something from an overseas retailer in the six-month period the global performance management company studied.
Meantime, ecommerce spending worldwide is expected to double to $5.8 trillion during the five-year period ending in 2022. Invesp says $1 trillion of that will be cross-border transactions.
David Buckingham, the CEO of Ecrebo, has been watching the trend and thinking about where it is headed. He spoke to us in the brief video below, offering some tips for retailers who are searching for their next foreign market.
Beyond his advice in the video, Buckingham talked about some additional considerations in our extended interview. He noted that while cross-border commerce is easier to do online, that doesn’t mean a retailer will necessarily be successful at it.
When thinking about online cross-border commerce, retailers should think about many of the same factors that they consider in opening physical stores in new markets.
For instance, retailers need to carefully size up the competitive landscape of the country they are looking to move into. Buckingham offered the example of two large, popular and successful department stores in Europe — Ireland-based Primark and PEPCO, which is based in Eastern Europe.
Interestingly, today, those two retailers don’t have much geographic overlap,” Buckingham said. “That might be because they see each other as potentially competitors head-to-head and they kind of carved our markets that work well for them.”
Finding Your Next Global Market
And, of course, one of retail’s old saws — “know your customer” — applies, perhaps more so, when considering cross-border than it does when selling domestically.
“You have to look at customs,” Buckingham said, “as in culture and the customs in a country.”
There is a reason, despite its complications that the buzz around cross-border is getting louder. In many ways cross-border selling represents the future of retail. The time to begin to master it is now.