Industry Roundtable: How Can Retailers Overcome The Barriers to International Expansion?

Whether you want to tap into new markets, increase your customer base or add new revenue streams for sustained growth, international expansion is a smart move.

In the age of social commerce, platforms like Instagram and TikTok – with their billions of active users – offer retailers exciting new avenues for global e-commerce outreach.

However, to succeed on an international scale, there are challenges with inflation, pricing, supply chains and localization to overcome.

In our latest Industry Roundtable, we spoke to a range of global commerce experts to get practical tips and insider insights on the best approach. Here’s what they had to say…

How should businesses adapt their pricing in response to inflation, particularly when expanding into new markets?

“A deep understanding of your customers in existing markets is a good place to start. This will help you anticipate how global economic shifts, like rising inflation, might impact new markets.

“However, what works in one region might not work in another. You need to be able to A/B test different pricing strategies to develop your own data for your new regions.This is extremely hard to manually, but a good reporting tool like Brightpearl can make it simple.” – Will Pritchard, Account Executive, Brightpearl by Sage

“The key is to understand the differences in cultural trends and beliefs from country to country, as one size pricing does not fit all markets. For example, typically EU-based customers are more likely to checkout when tax and duties are built into the price of the product. Japanese customers on the other hand prefer to see a separate line with these charges at checkout.

“Some cultures are also less deterred by higher prices, as they are aware this connotes better-quality products, so brands can afford to mark prices up slightly without losing conversions.” – Sabastian De Vaux, Partnerships Manager EMEA, Global-E

“If 2023 showed us one thing, it is that brands with strong margin profiles were the only ones able to navigate the turbulence and survive. Whenever expanding into new markets, it is imperative to never sacrifice margins, factor in necessary promotional and brand awareness spend, and not be afraid of being priced a little higher than the competition. Don’t sacrifice your bottom line health for top-line growth.” – Kunal Kohli, Director of Customer Success, Ampla

Why is localization increasingly crucial in global e-commerce? How can businesses adapt their websites and marketing to resonate with diverse cultural preferences?

“Brands should focus on building a community as a cheap way of gaining and retaining customers, regardless of which market they’re selling into. Adapt your offering to suit the local culture and language. This does come with some caveats. You have to get a native speaker to work on the translation work and guide your content strategy.” – Will Pritchard, Account Executive, Brightpearl by Sage

“Offering transactions in local currency, accommodating preferred payment methods, transparently calculating taxes and duties and providing trusted local shipping options are all ways to eliminate obstacles in the customer journey. Localized experiences are pivotal in establishing brand trust and integrity, laying the foundation for customer loyalty and future purchases.” – Sabastian De Vaux, Partnerships Manager EMEA, Global-E

How can businesses navigate supply chain disruptions and build resilience when expanding into new international markets?

“We advise customers concerned about supply chain disruptions to utilize a global finance automation platform with integrated compliance features. The ability to make payments globally in whatever currency is required from the same platform allows businesses to pick and choose suppliers across the globe based on their credentials and price. This helps companies develop a more nimble and resilient supply chain.” – Matthew Merrill, Senior Manager of Partner and Industry Marketing, Tipalti

“Know your customer, know your financial and marketing metrics, and stay close with your suppliers and manufacturers. Create two budgets: worst case and best case, and only build inventory off the worst case. If you see demand stronger than what you budgeted, use your supplier relationships to build inventory and meet demand.

“Don’t go overboard. Some potential lost sales in a market with several supply chain obstacles are better than large amounts of cash tied up in inventory that may not sell through.” – Kunal Kohli, Director of Customer Success, Ampla

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