Voice of the Industry

Gain an onshore advantage: 4 elements for a successful global ecommerce strategy

Wednesday 7 April 2021 07:55 CET | Editor: Anda Kania | Voice of the industry

Adam Coyle, the CEO of Digital River reveals a comprehensive market plan to attract new customers and break into new global markets

Expanding into new global markets represents a tremendous growth opportunity for ecommerce brands, but it also comes with significant challenges. There are important customer engagement considerations like creating brand awareness and demand for your product while providing a compelling shopping experience. But equally important are the back-end functions that make it possible to operate your ecommerce business in a new foreign market.

You need to consider things like payments, transaction processing, fulfilment, compliance, and tax remittance. All of these factors can be unique to each new market. So, successful global expansion really comes down to mastering localisation: looking, feeling and operating like a local company. This is a concept that we call The Onshore Advantage™.

Here are four top insights on what growing brands need to do to manage the complexities of global expansion and successfully break into new markets. 

1. Devise a macro entry strategy

To build local onshore capabilities, you first have to dive into the market analysis in detail to identify and understand the opportunity. This is essential, as the feasibility and cost of entry are sometimes lost in the true local nuances. You need to get a comprehensive view of the market, starting with understanding the customer, the competition, and the market size. Then, it’s crucial to move into legal and privacy concerns, fulfilment channels, third-party delivery and supply chain logistics.

All of these things come together to provide a comprehensive view of the market so you can devise a macro entry strategy. That strategy, coupled with a growth mentality instilled at every level of your company, should guide your decision making throughout your expansion into new global markets.

2. Understand your customer

Understanding the local customer in detail is key for developing a macro entry strategy for new global markets. Crucial elements to consider are preferred payment methods, language nuances, expectations for delivery, direct to consumer marketing, customer support and more. The consumer should always be at the centre of every strategic decision you make.

While ‘know your customer’ may seem like a basic concept, it is extremely important to dedicate time and resources to get it right. Even companies with high brand awareness and demand in new markets have failed in their global expansion efforts because they made assumptions about the local customer, instead of thoroughly checking the market reality.

To avoid these mistakes, build a robust voice-of-the-customer program that involves interviews, surveys, or other means to drill down into what makes those local consumers unique. Maintain your brand promise, while also targeting it to those nuanced differences. Because no two countries are the same, you won’t be able to transpose sales strategies to new markets based on previous market data. Therefore, make sure to repeat your customer analysis processes in every new global market you’re looking to enter.

3. Create a comprehensive system of record

For successful global expansion, companies must invest properly to create a company-wide system of record for all customer records, no matter where they are located worldwide. One example is investing in technology that allows you to join your global customer support data with your sales database to provide a premium customer experience. The goal is to build comprehensive marketing and sales strategies based on a complete picture of the customer, from acquisition to the end of their lifecycle.

This holistic approach to customer records will allow you to be more successful in demand generation and develop localized sales strategies that get results globally. So, making an early decision about having a system of record for your global customer data is absolutely vital – and may require partnering with brands who can provide this for you.

4. Leverage partnerships effectively

One of the ways to help ensure you invest in global expansion correctly is to decide which operations you want to control in the new market. It’s crucial for brands to think about what responsibilities and work they want to take on, and what they want to get through a partner. That will help inform your decision about where you’re going to invest most effectively.

Focus on your core competencies and try to find vendors who truly understand your company and bring your company DNA into the process. When expanding globally, choose a partner who can take on things like payments, tax, fraud and compliance, so you can focus on creating the products your customers want. That way, you can create a truly excellent customer experience and achieve global ecommerce success in your new markets.

Want to dive in further?

If you are interested in learning more about expanding your commerce operations into new markets and how your brand can gain The Onshore Advantage™, grab your passport to global commerce in our new ebook here

About Adam Coyle

Adam Coyle has spent over 25 years in the financial technology industry in a wide range of executive roles. Adam joined Digital River as CEO after spending three years as a Digital River board member and executive partner at Siris Capital. Before joining Siris he was executive vice president of strategy and corporate development for Vantiv (now FIS WorldPay), a role he assumed after serving as the president of one of Vantiv’s major subsidiaries, National Processing Company. Adam’s prior experience also includes time spent as an operating partner at Advent International, a leading global private equity firm, and a variety of senior leadership roles at First Data Corporation.  He is a current or former director of numerous companies, including Transaction Network Services, Intralinks, FirstBank, Paymentech, NYCE and First Financial Bank.

About Digital River

With more than 25 years’ experience, Digital River has mastered the ins and outs of global commerce. Established and fast-growing brands alike rely on our flexible, API-powered solutions to sell directly to their customers. Our modular platform, global expertise and advanced partner ecosystem let brands focus on creating seamless buyer experiences, while we work behind the scenes to handle payments, fraud, taxes and compliance on your behalf. Brands benefit from our Global Seller Services, expertly designed to help accelerate global expansion, grow revenue and protect their business from risk.


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Keywords: Digital River, ecommerce, cross-border ecommerce, direct to consumer
Categories: Payments & Commerce | Ecommerce
Countries: World
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