The ecommerce share of retail sales globally has been on the rise for at least the past five years and is expected to continue.
Net consumer optimism has decreased in several countries, according to McKinsey data, as a result of COVID-19. However, the pandemic has also necessitated greater adoption of ecommerce, especially for essential items.
This opens up a big opportunity in expanding sales cross-border to countries in which the growth rate for ecommerce penetration previously lagged.
That said, brands will have to do their own research into whether or not an international expansion is right for their online business. Some things to consider:
Is there demand for my product or category in that market? Will my marketing translate cross-culturally, or will the brand need to invest in unique campaigns? Do we need to localize our ecommerce site for an international audience? Which payment options are most popular in the target country? How will we approach cross-border shipping? Consider all the costs of marketing, selling, and shipping internationally so you can assess whether it will be worth it for your brand. Also important to note: in selling to mobile-first regions like APAC, Africa, and the Middle East, delivering an easy-to-use mobile shopping experience will be critical.
BigCommerce customer LARQ made international a priority early.
“We did a Kickstarter early on and predicted that the international market, specifically in Europe and Asia, was going to be massively important for us,” said Justin Wang, LARQ co-founder and CEO.
Their ecommerce site has multi-region capabilities, and the launch of multi-currency in 2019 drove an 80% increase in conversions in three months.
“We’re also looking into setting up a new warehouse, expanding internationally on the operations side, and continuing to focus on our ecommerce strategy,” Wang said.