by: Atikah Hanafi
Cross border business-to-consumer has recorded a staggering $500 billion sales in 2017 based on a research by Accenture as cited in article by Rob Keve. In fact, the figure is expected to double by 2020. It is no surprise as cross-border e-commerce will make up 20% of all online retail in 2022 in a finding by analyst group, Forrester. If you want to have a slice of this lucrative share, you should start thinking of expanding your local business to cross border e-commerce.
Taking the move to expand your business internationally as a global brand requires a comprehensive strategy and careful planning. In this post, we will provide an overview of some of the steps required when you want to start building a successful cross border e-commerce business.
[Note: This post will be the introductory part of an ongoing series – A Comprehensive Guide for Cross Border E-commerce Marketing & Branding Strategy; where we will discuss each step below in detail in our upcoming posts.]
Determine & Research Your Region
The first step to going global is to know exactly which part of the world you are trying to expand your e-commerce business to. Once you identify the specific country or region, it is vital to get to know more about the country. Begin with identifying its language, ethnicities, religion, total population, etc. for an overview of the country’s demographics. Then, you may proceed to research the market climate specifically on their buying habits, currency, economical standing, preferred payment gateway, market trends, etc. It is also important to note the rules and regulations as well as their cultural norms and issues that might be sensitive to your target country.
Analyse Potential Competition
Penetrating into cross border market also means facing new rivals. It is important for you to come prepared by looking out for possible local competitors in your selected country so you may come up with a better cross border marketing strategy. You may first begin by identifying your possible rivals including their unique weaknesses and strengths. Find out about the products they sell as well as the pricing and special discounts that they offer. It is also useful to identity the channels they use to market their products and engage with the customers.
Develop Your Brand Identity
Knowing your poison is not enough, you must also keep your body healthy and strong. Hence, developing a powerful brand identity is vital. Look into your existing brand including your logo, tagline, website and see whether it needs polishing or even, rebranding. Building a strong social media presence is also necessary in modern era. Create continuous contents and personalise your customer via website and social will definitely help you build a stronger brand.
Find & Leverage the Right Channel
Marking and promoting your brand and products are a part of owning a business. You have multiple options to choose from the traditional media such as newspaper, television commercials, billboards, and radio to social media including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. There are also a few popular marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Lazada and Shopee. Cross border marketing require you to spot the right channel in your selected region. You do not necessarily need to market your e-commerce business in every channel available (plus, that will require a lot of money and effort from your side!), instead leverage only the ones that are widely used and highly popular.
There is no better way to create a strong brand than to strike right at its core – winning people’s heart. In order to garner customers’ attention, you need to let them feel like you know them well enough. Localise, localise, localise. Ensure that you understand the cultural and local nuances as well as identifying key holidays and festive season. Consequently, you’ll have a base when localising and experimenting contents as well as knowing when to launch your marketing campaign. If necessary, you also need to go the extra mile to translate your website and channels to local languages to make your brand more accessible to the local market.
Sort Logistic & Fulfilment
The last but not the least important thing to do before starting a cross border e-commerce is to sort out the logistic and fulfilment. Cross border shipping and trading work differently than local shipment. There are rules and regulations that need to be adhered to; and this will affect your overall costs. You must also sort the payment, delivery and checkout options to ensure a smooth customer’s shopping experience.
Developing a powerful marketing and branding strategy is vital when you are about to start a cross border e-commerce business so that you can come into the new market strong enough to face any possible challenge. Stay tuned as we’ll discuss further how to determine and research your target region in the next post!