Think Global, act Local!
After the kick off in Amsterdam three weeks ago, Round Table number 3 of the Ecommerce Europe & E-commercefacts Round Tables, took place in Madrid on October 3rd. Following a few words of welcome from digital publisher e-commercefacts.com’s Paul Petermeijer in the beautiful Estay Restaurant, the Spanish audience of online retailers and experts were able to tap the shared vision and cross border e-commerce knowledge of guest speakers GfK’s Head of Retail UK Andrew Phipps, Vice-president and Ecommerce Europe executive committee member Wijnand Jongen and Mango’s E-commerce Manager Roger Graell.
Worldwide there are now 2.26 billion online consumers. But omni-channel commerce is what we need to be talking about, according to Andrew Phipps from GfK. There are lot of differences between countries and channels that must be taken into account before going cross-border. To take a few examples, in Africa most online purchases will be bought with smartphones. In general, products enter the physical stores earlier but have a longer life online. People spend more money online than offline and, although the BRIC countries are making their way online, they still only make up the same amount of online purchases combined as France alone. The advice of Andrew Phipps: “Go for what you know when choosing which countries you want to expand to.”
Wijnand Jongen introduced Ecommerce Europe to the audience. Ecommerce Europe is the pan-European trade association for companies selling products and/or services online. Founded by leading national e-commerce associations, its mission is to advance the interests and influence of e-commerce in Europe through advocacy, communication and networking. Their public affairs lobby in Brussels focuses on fewer regulations, consumer rights and VAT issues.
As a ‘Spanish’ (online) retailer across 40 countries and in 14 languages, Roger Graell from Mango shared his experiences and challenges. The main challenge for Mango is to have the same brand experience online as offline. This is also the basis on which they operate. It is not just a question of look and feel but it also depends on service and collection.
Think Global, act Local
But Mango also recognizes that each country has its own solutions, whether this is payments or marketing. For example, Google doesn’t mean a thing in South Korea, where they have their own local search engine; in Mexico, import tariffs on textiles are extremely high; in Russia everyone pays by delivery at the doorstep. Therefore Roger’s advice is to really study the manners of the countries you’re considering expanding to and make sure your e-commerce team includes several nationalities. Mango also works with different models for each country. Sometimes with franchises or ‘shop-in-a-shop’, even online. And, in addition to the “traditional” e-commerce countries, Eastern Europe, where e-commerce is now growing rapidly, is an important market to consider!
A testimonial from Marta Panera, International PR Director Showroomprive, who attended the Round Table:
“It is fundamental to be able to know what is happening outside the borders of our own country in order to detect trends, not miss out on opportunities and get to know the problems that other players like us are facing in Europe. The E-commercefacts dinner gave us the opportunity to access key industry information that E-commercefacts.com gathers all over Europe and also to share our experiences with relevant members of the sector in Spain. A down-to-earth event with very interesting contributions by the speakers and stimulating after-dinner discussions”
Source: E-commerce facts