What you missed: Internet Retailing research briefing in the UK

By: Tim Haycocks

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From L to R: Ian Jindal, editor in chief of Internet Retailing, Liz Morrell, research editor of Internet Retailing, Tim Haycocks from Digital River, Derek O’Brien from Meridian and Jordan Weinstein from Channel Advisor.

During a recent Internet Retailing research briefing on international commerce, I had an opportunity to present alongside representatives from Internet Retailing, Meridian Global Services, Amazon and Channel Advisor. I presented Digital River’s point of view in support of the findings from Internet Retailing’s International Research Report September 2013.

After three months of research that involved surveys and qualitative phone interviews conducted by Internet Retailing, the report revealed that taking an online business global presents a great opportunity and several challenges that must be approached thoughtfully. Capturing the views of 150 top UK retailers – many of which have an international presence – with supporting commentary from industry experts and other retailers, the report explores the importance of localising an online business in order to be effective and relevant internationally.

Localisation goes far beyond translating website pages. It requires a deep understanding of the unique cultural preferences that affect the way people shop and buy, including the local payment methods that they expect to see at checkout. Localisation also means taking into account all of the behind the scenes logistics that make the online transaction possible, including global tax management, fraud prevention and export compliance.

The International Research Report offers merchants a broad perspective on go global, go local strategies. It starts by identifying the global opportunities for online expansion, as well as the barriers to entry and how they can be overcome. It offers insights into how third parties can help with international expansion plans, ways to improve the international online experience for shoppers, and strategies for identifying your next location target. Plus it gives real-world case studies of companies that have done it successfully.

Although many of the research briefing participants were hoping to get a proven formula for international expansion, the truth is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The two main takeaways from the conversation for me were:

  1. International expansion is complex – people often underestimate the impact of having to scale a commerce business over time, especially when expanding into new geographies. The international opportunity is immense, but do not forget that it’s complex, challenging and often unpredictable. Getting an expert to work with you during this journey can save you time, money and headaches.
  2. Resource appropriatelyDon’t dedicate your entire team into internationalisation and lose focus of your main domestic business. In addition to considering commonalities such as language, leverage your current website traffic and transaction data to identify which countries should be at the top of your investment list.

All in all, it was a great morning to spend with a few other global commerce experts discussing international expansion – the benefits, challenges and keys to success.

If you’d like more information on globalisation, you can download a copy of Digital River’s whitepaper on internationalisation at http://bit.ly/GoGlobalNow.

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