In a world of global commerce increasingly dominated by international markets, e-commerce now plays a pivotal role in the way brands and retailers market and sell their products. But as the dynamics of commerce have changed to include direct-to-consumer sales channels, private labels and digital native brands, global brands and retailers are actively testing and implementing new business models and partnerships to stay competitive. in this increasingly complex landscape.
A new study published today by the Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum (GELF) highlights the growth and distribution strategies that brands and retailers should implement to optimize international e-commerce operations today and in the future.
GELF, the largest community of digital retail leaders focused on growing cross-border and international sales, interviewed senior ecommerce executives from branded manufacturers and traditional retailers to understand how leaders are leveraging digital to grow their international distribution footprint. Developed with support from the National Retail Federation (NRF), the survey reveals that executives face a multitude of challenges and opportunities in driving their organization’s global e-commerce expansion.
The survey suggests that successful leaders will need flexibility, digital champions, and a willingness to test digital ways to increase retail sales globally.
The results relate to several fundamental decisions that are at the origin of the evolution of today’s organizations:
Growth strategies: Large English-speaking markets remain the top international priority, but revenue opportunities in other emerging and emerging markets, particularly China, are pushing brands to review their strategy – and their partners – in these areas.
International e-commerce expansion models: Cross-border e-commerce and international markets are the most attractive expansion models for brands and retailers due to lower entry costs and extended global reach.
Business execution: Global e-commerce leaders are moving from US-centric operating models to global operating models by developing “Global Playbooks” and “Centers of Excellence”. But this transition is not without challenges; international distribution agreements, digital rights, and enterprise-wide e-commerce membership are hurdles for many digital leaders.
International distributors: Ecommerce leaders are looking for channel partners who not only offer traditional regulatory and operational support, but can also actively enable digital commerce growth while controlling brand content and storytelling. That said, many international distributors and resellers are not e-commerce savvy, so brands should take the initiative to educate global reseller partners to develop their digital commerce skills.
Foundations for future growth: With the foundations of cross-border and international e-commerce in place, brands and retailers must invest in international marketing, demand generation and data management to ensure their future growth.
“Executives need to understand that just having a direct or traditional channel partner is not enough in today’s borderless world. They must continually embrace new market partnerships and emerging purchasing channels, and invest in digital marketing and e-commerce innovations to stay relevant, ”said Kent Allen, co-founder of GELF and lead author of the report.
“As Amazon and Alibaba evolve to become global channel partners, retail brands must innovate with other channel partners to deliver the digital experience that the international shopper now expects,” Allen added.