Cross-Border Ecommerce: What Most Brands Miss About Global Opportunities

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Expanding into global ecommerce offers significant growth potential but requires research and strategic planning. Success depends on understanding global market trends, localizing operations and marketing and navigating international logistics and regulations.

Introducing cross-border ecommerce to your brand offers vast potential for growth, but it requires thorough research and strategic planning to succeed. By understanding global trends and market dynamics, ecommerce professionals can unlock significant opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.

Key Takeaways:

  • Global ecommerce is rapidly growing and offers substantial revenue potential for economies of scale and growing economies.
  • Successful international expansion requires detailed market research and strategic planning around operations, logistics and international customer values.
  • Localization of marketing, customer service and payment options is crucial.
  • Staying informed of global trends in ecommerce and challenges competitors may have faced can help navigate the complexities of cross-border ecommerce.


Understanding Global Ecommerce

Global ecommerce involves selling products or services online across geographical and geopolitical borders to customers in countries other than your own. Marketplaces and brands can expand their geographic selling region to grow revenue in other markets.

A screenshot of Amazon's site showing its international shipping options.

Amazon’s page allows customers from all over the world to buy and ship products to their country.

A screenshot of Kendra Scott's page showing its international orders policy.

Kendra Scott also offers international shipping for their customers.


Global ecommerce is expected to total $4.2 trillion in 2024 according to the International Trade Administration. Cross-border ecommerce continues to expand everyday, and a study from Statista expects there to be 3.6 billion users engaged in global ecommerce by 2029.


The Benefits of Global Ecommerce

What are the positive effects for retailers who expand globally? Some are obvious, such as increasing revenue and strengthening brand presence. However, global ecommerce also allows brands to mitigate market saturation they may see in their home country. Expansion also allows brands to diversify risk. In addition, global ecommerce allows brands to reach new economies of scale.


Crafting an International Ecommerce Strategy

Research is of utmost importance for global businesses. Brands must understand the laws, cultural values/practices, economies and customer practices in the countries they expand to. Follow these steps as a guide to expanding your ecommerce business globally:

  1. Define the scope of expansion based on business needs
    1. How many countries and what countries will you expand to?
  2. Plan operations for international logistics and supply chain management
  3. Use SEO tools to track product demand and customer behavior in foreign markets
  4. Conduct thorough competitor research to see what has or hasn’t worked in other markets
  5. Comply with international laws and regulations
  6. Evaluate logistics partners and explore payment provider options who can support global expansion
  7. Understand market-specific consumer preferences so that you can localize your marketing and customer support


Analyzing Global Trends in Ecommerce

Global trends will vary based on your brand and offerings. Here are some popular wide-scale global ecommerce trends:

  • Sustainability values
  • Increase in online shopping across borders
  • Growth in mobile commerce and live streaming for sales
  • Global inflation and varied economic conditions are impacting buying habits
  • Omnichannel strategies
  • AI adoption

LoveShackFancy's site showing they have embraced international trends: sustainability values and high-level chatbots.

LoveShackFancy’s site is an example of how to embrace international ecommerce trends and values. Their page details sustainability efforts and uses an AI-powered chatbot to deliver customer service. Outside of this, the brand utilizes omnichannel strategies to offer customers in-store, online and mobile purchasing options.

Trends can also be specific to the country/countries you are expanding to. For example, the US and Canada have steady growth and consumers who are driven largely by mobile and omnichannel experiences. Other countries like Mexico and Brazil are growing markets with unique digital shopping and payment preferences.

Establishing Your Global Ecommerce Platform

Integrate your research into global ecommerce practices:

  • Determine pricing strategies for your products in different markets
  • Set up secure and convenient payment options
  • Plan for efficient international shipping and logistics
  • Use SEO to optimize your online store for global audiences
  • Implement effective customer service solutions, including chatbots and customer service phone numbers


Navigating Challenges in Global Ecommerce

Embarking on a new venture inevitably presents challenges. However, you can significantly mitigate these difficulties by being well-prepared and anticipating potential issues. Ensure you and your team fully understand and comply with diverse laws and regulations in international economies and markets, including customs regulations. Also, manage global logistics and supply chains efficiently, while managing payments and navigating your revenue through fluctuating exchange rates.

Bridging cultural differences in international spaces should be top of mind. International e-commerce is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and you may have to change your marketing strategies for different markets. A recent example of a brand adapting to international differences and trends is seen in Nike creating ads specifically for international customers. The Nike Air Max Campaign, which partnered with South Korean pop group NewJeans to promote its brand was a successful international campaign. 


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