The convergence of social, local and mobile has changed the world of e-commerce. With the rapid adoption of smartphones across Europe and changing customer habits, perfecting your strategy for these three trends can close the loop on your online strategy. For retailers looking to expand their business internationally, these three tips will give you a competitive advantage and help you stand out from the crowd.
Facebook is one of the most powerful tools for retailers looking to broaden their brand awareness globally. With a user base of over 900 million, and over half of those users logging in to their account daily, the potential to reach new customers is vast. Facebook is not limited by borders; users across the world are “Liking” brands and retailers they admire. In fact, 33% of the Facebook audience are fans of a brand online. The desire to interact with products certainly exists amongst Facebook users, but this does not necessarily mean that your Facebook page should be an extension of your webstore. Many retailers fall into the trap of forgetting the social aspect of social media; instead you should engage with your fans in a meaningful way to create a successful social media strategy.
Incentivise those users who are fans of your page through exclusive offers or competitions and an engaging page that they can enjoy browsing. Understand your audience and keep up-to-date with local events or holidays or shopping habits. By acknowledging their local and cultural identity, and placing timely posts, you will establish your business as a trusted name.
In terms of going global we advise retailers to think of local in two ways. For retailers who have an established overseas presence, embrace local by offering a store locator on your website and displaying your location on Google Maps. 50% of smartphone shoppers in Europe will use a GPS or mapping app to find a retail location. Get your store-level inventory optimised to attract potential customers and ensure that your products are compatible with barcode scanning apps such as RedLaser.
However, local can have a different meaning in the global sense and this applies to retailers of all sizes. When going global, the key to success is acting like a local business. Rather than trying to adopt a one size fits all global expansion strategy, take a step back and understand the nuances of each potential market. From customer shopping habits to culture, local language to regulation, every country has unique characteristics. Even in English speaking territories such as the US, Australia and UK there are differences in language and culture. For example, with different product names across these regions, trying to rehash your PPC keywords can cost valuable, potential revenue. Before expanding internationally, localise all of your offering, understand your target audience, country regulations, culture and language. By understanding your target audience and localising all of your efforts you will be able to compete with local businesses and see success.
Europe is leading the way with smartphone penetration with a 42% adoption rate across the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. Pair this with a 39% adoption rate in the US and it is clear to see that globally the rise of mobile adoption rates is causing a seismic shift in consumer behaviour. 13.6 million people across Europe accessed a retail site via a smartphone last year, an increase of 112% in just 12 months. Customers are now researching and buying more products online, scanning barcodes to compare prices and check in-store availability.
Take advantage of this trend by creating a mobile-friendly website with up-to-date inventory levels, an easy checkout process and an enjoyable browsing experience to convert browsers in to shoppers. For retailers with a global presence, offer a native language site where possible, and at a minimum make your delivery conditions easy to find so as to avoid cart abandonment.
Social, local and mobile are three of the key themes in e-commerce today. Whether you optimise your performance across these three areas to improve your online strategy or expand your business globally, keeping up with these key topics will have a positive impact on your bottom line.