As commerce dynamics have changed to include direct-to-consumer channels, private-label retail and digital native brands, global brands and retailers are actively testing and implementing new business models and partnerships to stay competitive in this increasingly complex landscape.
A new study released today by the Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum (GELF) highlights growth and distribution strategies brands and retailers should implement to optimize international ecommerce operations now and in the future.
GELF, the largest community of digital retail executives focused on growing cross-border and international commerce sales, surveyed senior ecommerce executives at branded manufacturers and traditional retailers to understand how leaders are leveraging digital to grow their international distribution footprint. Developed with support from the National Retail Federation (NRF), the survey reveals leaders are facing a multitude of challenges and opportunities in driving their organization’s global ecommerce expansion.
The survey suggests that successful leaders will require flexibility, digital champions and a willingness to test digital-first ways of growing retail sales globally. The results address several core decisions that are driving the evolution of organizations today:
- Growth Strategies: Large, English-speaking markets remain the top international priority, but the revenue opportunity in other emerged and emerging markets, particularly China, is driving brands to revisit their strategy – and partners – in these areas.
- International Ecommerce Expansion Models: Cross-border ecommerce and international marketplaces are the most appealing expansion models for brands and retailers due to lower costs of entry and expanded global reach.
- Enterprise Execution: Global ecommerce leaders are moving from US-centric to global operating models by developing “Global Playbooks” and “Centers of Excellence.” But this transition is not without its challenges; international distribution agreements, digital rights and gaining company-wide ecommerce buy-in are barriers for many digital leaders.
- International Distributors: Ecommerce leaders are seeking distribution partners that not only offer traditional regulatory and operational support, but also can actively enable digital commerce growth while controlling brand content and storytelling. That said, many international distributors and resellers are not ecommerce savvy, so brands must take the lead on educating global reselling partners to build their digital commerce skill sets.
- Foundations for Future Growth: After the cross-border and international ecommerce foundations are in place, brands and retailers must invest in international marketing, demand generation and data management to ensure future growth.
“Executives need to understand that simply having a direct or traditional distribution partner presence isn’t enough in today’s borderless world. They must continually embrace new marketplace partnerships and emerging shopping channels, and invest in digital marketing and ecommerce innovations to stay relevant. As Amazon and Alibaba evolve to become global distribution partners, retail brands must innovate with other distribution partners to provide the digital experience the international shopper now expects. We hope this report serves as a guide for brands and retail partners looking to diversify, transform and supercharge their presence in this new era of commerce.”
– Kent Allen, co-founder of GELF
About Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum
Founded in 2014, the Global Ecommerce Leaders Forum (GELF) is the largest community of digital retail executives focused on growing cross-border and international ecommerce sales. GELF’s thought leadership, community development programs, conferences and events are 100% dedicated to cross-border and international ecommerce. GELF strives to answer the toughest questions facing ecommerce leaders tasked with growing global retail sales.