If you’re a merchant and you’re not engaged in global ecommerce, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. Trends like slower growth in domestic ecommerce relative to other countries and increased website traffic from non-U.S. IP addresses are clear signals that legions of ready and willing online buyers await offshore.
While the opportunity is clearly there, a number of obstacles need to be addressed, and engaging with solution partners experienced in cross-border trade is often a wise course of action. Overall, merchants need to enter global ecommerce with a clear plan and strategy in place, starting slowly and building on successes.
According to eMarketer, global B2C ecommerce sales will rise 20.1% in 2014 to $1.5 trillion. The growth rate is projected to slow somewhat in 2015, increasing 17.75 to $1.77 trillion.
Kris Green, chief strategy officer for cross-border ecommerce solution provider Borderfree, told attendees at Multichannel Merchant’s inaugural Growing Global conference in July that merchants have been seeing between 15%–20% of their online traffic coming from offshore IP addresses, causing them to realize the tremendous size of the opportunity.
“Beginning with the recession in 2008, retailers dependent on domestic ecommerce felt exposed when consumer confidence and spending took a hit,” Green said. “Therefore, global ecommerce was seen at the time as not just a growth opportunity but a defensive measure to offset that decline.”
But while the opportunity is clearly there, many merchants remain hesitant to jump in. In the MCM Outlook 2014 survey, which was fielded from Feb. 10 to March 10, only 27% of respondents said their websites were set up for global ecommerce. Of the 1,281 respondents, 470 identified themselves as a merchant or retailer.