For many brands, expanding to new global markets and ecommerce marketplaces can be an untapped gold mine. Selling in more places and putting your product on more marketplaces can broaden your brand’s reach, act as a defense strategy against unauthorized sellers, and ultimately drive revenue.
But navigating the global marketplace on ecommerce is a lot easier said than done. Expansion can be massively expensive and time-consuming. If you don’t perform your due diligence and expand wisely, your untapped gold mine can quickly become a financial sinkhole.
While it would be impossible to adequately cover every aspect of navigating the global marketplace in one blog post, below we’ll present a few introductory ideas to keep in mind as your brand considers expanding.
While it may be easy to decide to sell on additional domestic marketplaces, deciding whether to sell on the global marketplace is more complicated. Here’s what to keep in mind to help make that decision:
It’s best to hold off on international expansion until you’ve reached peak sales in your domestic market. If you’re only selling $1 or $2 million in the U.S., it’s unlikely that you’ve reached your peak. Instead of focusing on internationalization, you should be focusing on your homegrown market and building your reputation.
If you have reached peak in your domestic market, however, you should then consider if you have enough capital to fully invest in the global marketplace. Expanding to additional global markets isn’t cheap, and brands need to be prepared to cover regulatory costs, marketing spend, and other hidden fees. If you’re not prepared to invest, your expansion won’t be successful.
It’s also wise to establish your goals for launching your brand internationally. Once you hit a new market, it’s like setting up a new company — you probably won’t be profitable for 3-5 years. From the start, your strategy should be focused on the long-term. Entering the global marketplace isn’t a casual commitment that you can dip into and out of.
Finally, ask yourself if you have the right resources and team members to facilitate a smooth international launch. You need to have a plan in place for reading reviews in foreign languages, speaking to international partners, arranging logistics, and following international regulations.
If you’ve considered the points above and feel like your brand is ready to enter new markets in the global marketplace, there are a few strategies you should consider to optimize your chances for global success.
Research is a core internationalization strategy that you can’t afford to skip. Brands need to conduct research upfront to understand if the investment into international markets is worth the cost, and then continue to research to know the best strategies for their brand and markets.
Before expanding, brands should research which international markets to expand to in the global marketplace and how. The top 5 global ecommerce markets are the U.S., Germany, the U.K., Japan, and China. It’s logical to start with established markets since they’re already home to solid ecommerce infrastructure, making distribution logistics more simple. Even if there’s a large population and demand for your product in a given country, it will be difficult to scale your business if adequate technology, road, and delivery infrastructure aren’t in place.
While it’s good general advice to focus on large markets, this only applies if your brand’s product resonates in these markets. You should conduct a thorough analysis to determine whether there’s sufficient demand and opportunity for your brand and product category in a given market on the global marketplace. Conducting a competitor analysis can also help you identify gaps in the market and see how brands similar to yours are being represented on the marketplace.
Once you’ve decided where to expand in the global marketplace, you should also consider factors like pricing, translation, and regulatory and labeling needs. Determining international product prices isn’t as simple as converting your domestic price to a foreign currency. Instead, you should research the competitive landscape in the target market, be aware of local taxes, and factor in the additional costs you have to cover (like shipping and regulatory costs) to sell your product internationally.
International regulations are another consideration to research. Some ingredients may not be legal in foreign markets, and some countries may require labeling in the local language. Brands that sell supplements, for example, need to be aware of international regulations on supplements and how they might need to adjust their products to avoid getting shut down.
Understanding your customer is always important, but it becomes especially important while navigating the global marketplace. Ask yourself who your customer is, why they shop on marketplaces, what they’re searching for, and if there are similar products in the market already. Are their purchases driven by convenience factors? How can you tailor your messaging to match what they’re searching for? And how can competitors already in the market impact the demand for your products? You should answer all of these questions when creating your initial internationalization plan.
Like we’ve discussed previously, expanding to the global marketplace is an expensive process. To avoid the risks of heavily investing in a market where your product may not succeed, we recommend a three-phase internationalization process.
Phase 1 consists of testing your demand and ensure that enough customers exist in your target market to expand there. You can start by opening international shipping from your website or Amazon. In phase 2, you can continue cross-border selling while growing your demand with local marketing. When demand has grown enough to warrant the investment, brands can move to full localization, or phase 3, by creating a local entity and local marketplace listings.
Using this 3-step process can help brands mitigate some of the inherent risks of investing in the global marketplace.
Brand consistency is important, but when it comes to internationalization, so is adaptation. Your words might not translate well into the local language, making it necessary to alter titles or marketing content better catered to your international audience. The goal is to maintain your branding and the look and feel of your brand while adapting to local customers on the global marketplace.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of the most basic principles of navigating the global marketplace. The process is both complicated and potentially overwhelming, even for brands that are incredibly successful in their domestic markets. However, Pattern has experience helping brands successfully launch internationally, increase sales, and exceed their goals.
By partnering with Pattern, we can facilitate this process and help you mitigate many of the risks of entering the global marketplace. We’ll handle due diligence and upfront research for you, helping you craft an effective long-term strategy while avoiding typical mistakes. We can work with your brand to help you prepare and know when to expand—or, if you’ve already started the process, we can assess your progress and help you do even better and perfect your marketplace management. We have the resources, staff, services, and infrastructure to ensure your international launch goes as smoothly as possible.
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Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.
In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.
From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.
According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.
From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.
It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.
A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.
Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.
The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)
Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.
Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.
Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.
Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.