In today’s ecommerce climate retailers are increasingly recognising the potential of emerging and international markets for online retailing success. For UK retailers the chance to take their business online in both the developed and developing world represents a prime opportunity. But a really successful overseas strategy demands an approach that can flex to local cultural and logistical issues for sustainable success.

Particularly for smaller retailers that can be a daunting prospect. A complete rework of web structure, payment gateways and merchandising strategies implies a serious investment and a time consuming delivery path. Increasingly at Locayta we’re finding that clients turn to our technology to provide quick wins that will boost overseas sales and bridge the gap between a UK based ecommerce site and an effective international campaign. Here’s how they’re doing it:

Speaking the right language for overseas ecommerce markets

When you’re looking to launch your offer to new international market cultural influences should be key considerations. Even in established markets you need to make sure that your site speaks the right language for overseas customers to find what they’re looking for.

Locayta search has the ability to arrange your search terms, spell correction and auto-complete functionality so that they adapt to cultural vernacular. A particularly attractive function is synonym searching. This gives you the ability to quickly and easily set up synonyms behind the scenes so that you catch different colloquialisms that users might deploy depending on where they’re based.

A UK customer might search for “trousers”, a US customer for “pants” and an Australian customer for “slacks”. It doesn’t take long to do the maths and see that if your search engine picks up all of these terms and links them to the right products you’ve immediately tripled your potential catchment market and are likely to increase your sales.

Competing with the high street in global e-commerce

One of the reasons that people buy online from an overseas retailer is the lack of availability in local bricks and mortar stores. This is where Locayta can get really clever with your overseas visual merchandising. If you know the local market (and, let’s face it, if you’re planning to compete in that market you should have your research all sewn up) then you’ll know the types of products that are readily available locally and those which aren’t.

Via Locayta’s visual merchandising and display advertising functions you can change the nature and specification of the products that are displayed to your customers according to where they are in the world. In this way you can fill gaps in the market and make your offer really stand out.

Changing the face of your ecommerce store for international markets

The way in which people shop is influenced by where they live. Japanese shoppers, for example, are accustomed to an entirely different in-store approach than the UK. Typical features of the Japanese shopping experience include bright colours, visually impactful signage and displays organised by colour and size rather than style – typically with many variations of the same product on display.

It follows that if your website can recreate the experience these consumers recognise then you’re more likely to strike a chord – but you might not be ready to go down the road of a developing a whole new site for your chosen market.

This is where Locayta Visual Merchandising can transform your strategy. You can change the way in which your products are ordered and displayed and the way in which you advertise for your specific target market – and it’s not difficult to do. Once your product base is configured in the system it’s just a matter of logging in and using the simple control panel to adjust the way in which the technology prioritises and structures your product listings, category pages, special offers and advertisements to fit your market.

Make mobile easy for global ecommerce customers

A predominant factor in the global ecommerce boom is the rise of smartphone and tablet technology. Especially in areas like Africa – where broadband connectivity can still be a barrier to e-commerce – the ability to browse and buy via a mobile is a key win for customers and therefore for you.

Locayta M-Commerce offers a quick and cost-effective solution that enables you to deploy your offer on mobile platforms without any changes to your core site. What’s more, Locayta Shop Window equips you to deploy a virtual store on third party sites in exactly the same way as you would with advertising messages. That’s good news for those looking to make the most of locally popular sites to extend their international reach.

All of these solutions and many more can be integrated into your current ecommerce site without any core platform changes. Plus the entire Freestyle Merchandising® platform can perform multi-lingually to ensure that you keep totally up to speed with local competitors. To find out more take our 5 minute tour – or contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can support you in breaking into the global ecommerce boom.

Read more…

Overview 2012: Focus on the BRICS countries, IMRG, Novermber 2012

On ecommerce: South Africa and beyond, Forrester blogs, October 2012

E-Commerce Is the Next Frontier in Global Expansion, AT Kearney, November 2012

What the U.S. Can Learn from Japan’s eCommerce Ecosystem, Pymnts.com, November 2012