Best Practices for Taking Your Brand Global, Silicon Slopes Panel

Pattern Data Science

November 15, 2019

The international ecommerce opportunity is massive, but are you ready for it? Pattern’s Chief International Officer Chris Vincent recently sat down with a panel of international ecommerce experts at Silicon Slopes HQ to answer this question, discuss the ins and outs of taking your brand international, and give practical tips for brands looking at expansion. 

Taking your brand international is a challenge, but international ecommerce best practices can help make the international transition easier. Pattern's global ecommerce experts talk about how you can scale globally.

Alex Brodil, Tina Stiehle, Chris Vincent, and Mike Alexander discuss international ecommerce at a Silicon Slopes panel discussion.

Why go global?

Grow your brand: Expanding to new markets and countries can really help brands grow revenue and brand awareness, Chris said.

“The focus for us is really helping brands grow globally,” Chris explained. “And I think the major reason that we think that's important is because, like it or not, if you guys are selling in one market your products are ending up in other markets.”

Become more competitive: Tina Stiehle, the Director International Business for OrthoAccel Technologies, explained that one of the major reasons they decided to sell internationally was to increase their competitiveness and avoid stagnation within their company.

Diversify your revenue stream: Both Alex Brodil, Traeger’s VP of International Sales, and Mike Alexander, PMD Beauty’s VP of Sales, agreed that diversification was a large factor in their reasoning behind selling internationally.

“Diversification is really important. While the U.S. market is one of, if not the largest market in the world, if you're fully independent and only relying on one market, it doesn't allow you to weather the storms when the market turns,” Alex said.

What is your potential global marketplace opportunity? 

Everyone knows the internationally opportunity is growing—Tina shared that 96% of consumers are outside of the U.S. However, what brands need to decide is what their individual marketplace opportunity looks like, because it will invariably differ for each brand. 

Alex shared three questions brands should ask when thinking about international expansion:

  1. Where are the most people?

  2. Where do those people have high disposable income?

  3. What’s relevant for your category?

By answering these three questions, brands can start creating a strategic plan to go international.

It's important to create an international strategy when expanding to new markets. These tips shared by some international ecommerce experts will help brands wanting to expand their global ecommerce strategy.

Tips for making a successful, strategic plan to go international

Entering new markets and countries takes a long time, even years! However, these tips can make going internationally easier and more strategic.

Know it’s an investment

Having patience for long-term results is essential for any business expanding to new countries. For example, Tina’s company is going on their third year of regulatory discussions with China. Even though it may seem like the effort isn’t worth the wait in the short-term, Tina shared how it’s important to set long-term goals.

Expand to adjacencies first 

Both Chris and Alex suggested setting your eyes on adjacent countries like Canada or the U.K. first when going international. Since those countries already have the same language and similar cultures, they’re great places to start for U.S.-based businesses. Additionally, U.S.-based brands might already have some awareness built up in those audiences, and awareness is an important part of examining international opportunity.

Learn along the way

Going international isn’t an exact science or a one-and-done deal. Each brand and each product will face unique challenges as they start going international, Tina and Mike shared. Both of them emphasized the importance of learning from your mistakes during your first phase of international transition. Every success and failure teaches important lessons that brands can learn from as they continue the expansion process.

Prioritize and be willing to reevaluate goals

Brands need to be strategic about international expansion because the process truly is difficult. For example, knowing your ROI and setting expectations beforehand is important to measure success. Mike shared how PMD used to chase opportunities as they came, seeing some big successes but also experiencing some huge failures. Once PMD decided to become more strategic, they also started seeing more steady wins. 

Additionally, brands need to be willing to reevaluate those goals constantly. If their expectations aren’t met, brands need to be able to pivot and re-adjust them accordingly. It takes a long time and there are many challenges with international, but having a plan and sticking to it can help brands succeed in the long term, Mike said.

Don’t expand until you’re ready

Some brands think that explosive growth in the U.S. will mean explosive growth internationally. However, Alex and Chris both shared experiences about the importance of waiting until you’ve got a good foothold domestically to expand. 

One brand Alex worked for expanded to 5 international offices within the space of 2 years, but because they hadn’t honed in their domestic model quite yet, Alex ended up laying off an entire international office. Needless to say, making sure your brand has domestic down pat is important before even attempting to move on.

Work with someone who knows international

Lastly, going international alone is difficult, so having a partner like Pattern is important. “International could be a really scary thing for some brands,” Chris said. “They might not understand it, might not understand the language, and they really need a partner to help figure out and untangle that spaghetti factory to know where to go and how to do it.”

Both Mike and Alex used Pattern to help their brands go international and explained how Pattern’s expertise helped them feel confident going forward.

“Skullcandy worked with Practicology and with Pattern, so everything I say is going to be very biased because I was the one that helped onboard them for international because we realized we had a big problem and we didn't know what to do about it,” Alex said.

Brands can't ignore Amazon when it comes to creating an international strategy for global ecommerce. Amazon experts like Pattern can help brands understand how to deal with international Amazon sites.

Are you ignoring your Amazon problem?

Amazon U.S. already causes brands some strife, but Amazon International has its own set of problems that brands have to learn about and deal with. For example, MAP pricing isn’t allowed in Europe so different Amazon Europe sites all compete with each other for the lowest price, so brands have to find out new ways to grow profitably than they have in the U.S.

“Amazon is both a blessing and a curse. You're going to have to deal with it one way or the other, and you can either choose to get ahead of it and manage them early in the process, or you can sit back and pretend like it's not going to be an issue and let other people dictate how your products are going to be sold on Amazon,” Alex said. “I highly recommend you get ahead of it early on and come up with a plan and a strategy for how you're going to sell on Amazon—not just domestically but internationally.”

Chris emphasized how brands really need to understand the big picture of working with Amazon, especially that a domestic strategy won’t always translate into a successful international one. Brands need to know how to get in control on Amazon and how to think in global terms. And more than anything, brands need to learn to avoid the pitfall of focusing solely on sales—building brand equity is much more important for long-term, international profitable growth and control.

Lessons learned from failure 

The panelists each discussed how failure shaped their current view of going global and what they learned from it. These quick takeaways show why it’s important for brands to learn from their failures going forward.

  • Planning is important. If you’re hesitant to jump on an international opportunity now,  Tina said it’s better to weigh the costs and benefits rather than lose out on an opportunity you’ll eventually take anyway. 

  • Know your customer. Chris worked with Billabong internationally and said the biggest mistake they made there was misunderstanding their customer base and expanding too soon and too fast.

  • Realize that more sales doesn’t always mean more revenue.Mike said PMD used to be heavily sales-focused, but once they realized the added costs of fees and logistics, they ended up losing money despite big orders coming in.

  • Make sure everyone is all in.Alex explained how it’s important to educate your own team about going international and make sure you’re all dedicated to doing it for real—because if your team doesn’t realize how much work it’s actually going to take, they might feel discouraged when times get tough (and they will get tough). 

  • Have processes you can export.Alex added that it’s important to ensure your team has a solid foundation to build off of domestically before going anywhere else. If you have processes that you can export, going international becomes much easier. 

  • Do things the right way—even if it delays you. Being first to market is important, but it’s not more important than doing things right, Alex said. Of course you want to move quickly to go international if your product is already there, but don’t go too fast if you’re not ready.

In summary, going international is an important opportunity for brands and having international ecommerce expertise on your side can help you succeed quicker. If you think your brand is ready to go international, Pattern can get you there. Contact us by filling out the form below.

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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (20th September 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail]( THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail]( US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](