What’s more important going cross-border, trading in national languages or national currencies?
After the kick off in Amsterdam two weeks ago, last Tuesday September 18 in the evening Round Table number 2 of the Ecommerce Europe & E-commercefacts Round Tables, took place in Kettners Restaurant & Champagne Bar in London. After a word of welcome from Chaitanya Rajebahadur of iGATE, our sponsor of the evening, Forrester Research Principal Analyst Martin Gill and Topman Head of E-commerce Gracia Amico shared their vision of cross border e-commerce with the English audience of online retailers and experts.
Saving time & money are the main reasons why people shop online. But next to that assortment and range are becoming more important as to why people shop cross-border, according to Martin Gill. Records show that in Europe consumers in the UK, Scandinavia and the Netherlands are the biggest cross-border shoppers. Shoppers from the UK buy a lot from the US while Austrians buy from Germany (and vice versa). This indicates it’s a language thing. People feel more comfortable shopping in their own language.
Look at local markets
But of course language is not the sole thing, Martin Gill says. There are so many other factors you have to consider. His advice: Look at the local markets you are expanding to. What is the culture, which colors should and shouldn’t you use in your branding and what kind of strategy works for which country? There is no one size fits all in going cross-border.
To which countries should you expand?
When you want to expand your business cross-border, how should you choose to which countries? According to Gracia Amico you should take a good look at where you can handle logistics, at the economy of the different countries and where you have local partners. Local partners can help to get traffic to your webshop, with licenses, etc. But partnerships also bring difficulties as differences in prices for example, says Gracia. Going cross-border also means you have to have more people running it and bare in mind the cultural differences.
Topman also recently executed a survey amongst their clients to find out what’s more important to them, shopping in their own language or currency? Strangely enough the outcome was contrary to what Martin said, it’s shopping in their own currency. In this case as an English webshop you can have the English language in different countries but offer the local currency. However, Gracia also feels that if you expand to other countries you have to go for it completely, commit a 100%, or don’t do it at all. Her advice is also, to look at all the factors as language, cultural differences and localize your webshop. Don’t be arrogant, otherwise you’ll miss out!