Smart strategies for online growth

With online retail predicted to grow steadily in the near future, UK eTailers should take advantage of the opportunity to go global.

Forecast online retail growth rates for 2013-2017, as determined by a Nielson/PayPal study this year:

fr 12%   France fr14%   Australia
fr21%   Brazil de13%   Germany
us10%   US it18%   Italy
es19%  Spain ru18%   Russia
gb10%   UK cn20%   China

There are 4 main primary strategies for entering the global eCommerce marketplace:

  • Localise your entire eCommerce platform for your target languages
  • Localise key landing pages for your target languages, and link these to your English eCommerce site where visitors can purchase items from your English website
  • Localise key pages of your website, linking them to localised product listings on Amazon or eBay, where visitors can purchase in their own language
  • Localise product descriptions and put your products on eBay, Amazon or other online marketplace

These strategies obviously have different disadvantages and advantages that you’ll need to weigh up before incorporating them into your international business strategy. Listing products on Amazon or eBay can be expensive, but online marketplaces do offer a ready-made audience and have great online marketing and a trusted brand. Online marketplaces do have very high standards, so you will need to maintain stock levels and fulfil orders on time, every time. You will also need to translate detailed product descriptions and add photographs of products. Having key pages of your website localised, that you can link to from the marketplace, will help to build trust in your company and give online buyers additional information.

Alternatively, you can save the marketplace fees and link your localised landing pages to your English eCommerce platform instead. The success of this can vary, depending on how simple your English site is to use, and what markets you are targeting.  We have found that countries with a high level of English as a second language, such as in Scandinavia and Germany, are more likely to venture onto your English website to purchase.

If you have done your market research, and are ready to take the plunge, localising your entire eCommerce site for your target market is a good long-term solution. There will be no marketplace fees, and your customers can easily buy in their own language. eCommerce localisation can be cost-effective and gives you the greatest control of your own brand and products.