Global expansion: No longer just for the progressive

Industry Insight

Global expansion sounds daunting, and for a long time it was something only the largest and most successful retailers considered. However, as the years progressed and the Internet became more prominent in the lives of customers across the globe, retailers have realized that reaching international audiences is not as difficult as it used to be. In fact, with services like Fulfillment by Amazon going global, it has never been easier for merchants to engage shoppers from across the world.

“Now especially as many U.S. retailers are seeing 20-30 percent of their website traffic coming from non-U.S. IP addresses, they feel the need to diversify across global economies while monetizing international traffic,” Kris Green, chief strategy officer of Borderfree, told Multichannel Merchant. “Retailers also see eCommerce as an opportunity to help drive their brick-and-mortar expansion strategies.”

“Many U.S. retailers are seeing 20-30 percent of their website traffic coming from non-U.S. IP addresses.”

Smaller retailers can take advantage of these third-party services to make the global transition much easier. In years past, they may have had to deal with opening foreign distribution centers and devoting a lot of time trying to figure out shipping strategies and other issues. With services such as FBA handling much of that heavy lifting in terms of order fulfillment, merchants just need to worry about customer service, website management and inventory selection.

Fulfillment services make going global less of a leap and more of a step, allowing merchants to test the market before making a huge investment in that area. This can be pivotal for allowing retailers to capitalize on opportunities without having to bet the farm in doing so. Of course, fulfillment services do cost money, but they may be an effective means of hedging bets until merchants get their international efforts off the ground.