Global e-commerce is worth trillion of US$ with China currently boasting the world’s largest e-comm market and then USA following in second place despite having a larger economy than China.
Putting these 2 powerhouse economies aside and looking at the bigger picture, and all continents globally are seeing huge rises in online sales which is why we are seeing plenty of new e-comm platforms designed to help the little guy, and of course these platforms can also help the guns too.
A Platform That Brought Property SMBs Into the Big Picture
A good place to start is Airbnb. Now many of you reading this will already know about Airbnb. The site originally set out to help people find bed and breakfast accommodation but ended up becoming a global sensation in the vacation rental sector. Anyone that own a property or wants to go travelling can become a host by adding their property on the Airbnb listings.
This is a perfect example of a platform designed to help the little guy get exposure. Property management companies are the ones that benefit the most out of Airbnb for several reasons. First, their property website was competing in a tough internet marketing environment where exposure versus the likes of hotels.com and Agoda was small.
However, now those property management firms can list the properties they are managing for their customers on Airbnb’s platform which has a global reach thanks to its multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns.
Platforms That Help SMBs Sell Their Products Overseas
One of the fastest growing e-comm markets right now is the DTC (Direct to Consumer) sales strategy. Boutique and unique brands are no longer solely relying using department stores to sell their products, and in many cases some DTC brands base their uniqueness on the fact that you can only get their product via their website and nowhere else adding an element of rarity to it.
Although these brands show success in their own market places, when their execs decided to make a move into markets such as China, or any market in which the culture is very different from the one the firm is successful in, the end result is usually failure to penetrate.
Their localised strategies tend no to work with other cultures. Those that tried and failed lost millions while other brands are put off because they already know competitors or other DTC brands spent huge sums on targeting new overseas markets only to pull the plug and take the hit.
What if there was a way to limit the investment and marketing costs for eComm firms?
Well there is. There are e-comm platforms either in the process of being designed or are already out that allow anyone with an e-comm store to link with. Alibaba is one of the most famous in China while in places such as Thailand there is Lazada which allows overseas companies to add their products to what is effectively a marketplace full of e-comm brands/shops selling their products.
You can check out what locals see when searching these stores by using IP masking to zoom into the country’s search engines and see the same results domestic citizens see. Although, you will need Google Translate.
Some of the barriers to entry into foreign markets that are overcome:
· Ecomm platforms give brands access to overseas consumers
· Many already come with supply chain set ups with low import duties
· Reduces the cost of digital marketing campaigns
· These platforms create checkout process in local language/currency
· All duties and taxes are included in check out
E-comm Platforms with Social Commerce & Affiliate Programs
Systems such as GLOSKU come with a built-in affiliate marketing tool so local entrepreneurs can market an e-comm store’s products and take an affiliate commission.
In China, one of the fastest ways for e-comm stores to sell their products and circulate their brand is ‘pull marketing’ via social commerce. Affiliate marketers use 2D discount codes, affiliate links, reviews, and their exposure to consumers to pull in sales.
The key here is that this overcomes a key issue explained above. Firms that failed in overseas markets mainly did so because of lack of understanding for the local culture and what impulses trigger consumers into making a purchase decision.
With locals pulling in sales on behalf of the eComm firm, the sales copy is being created by locals in the target market. Therefore, if your SMB targets, then Chinese social commerce experts will create content that they know appeals to people of the same culture.
Today Businesses Can Invest Very Little to Enter Overseas Markets
In today’s topsy turvy world of retail sales, e-comm is becoming increasingly the purchase channel of choice. Of course, their will be some that shop in high street stores as a leisurely activity, and many people mix high street shopping with online purchases. However, to go into the high street retail sector of an overseas country, the investment costs are astronomical.
A sweet alternative is to use e-comm platforms that already have hundreds of thousands of site visitors. That means a property management firm looking for short stayers can advertise on sites like Airbnb and gain global exposure, an online beauty boutique or duel high street and online store can access markets in China and South East Asia, and all the while, the websites/platforms being used are the ones spending millions on marketing so the SMBs using their sites gain exposure.