Cross-border ecommerce has exploded in recent years with sales in 2014 at £153 billion ($230 billion) and predictions for this number to more than triple by 2020.
Paul will be presenting Technology considerations for international cross-border ecommerce at eCommerce Expo 2015. Join him to learn more.
When: 01 October 2015
Where: Olympia London
Popular UK brands already generating international sales will continue to thrive, but this growth expectation will also open many doors for retailers who can take advantage of the full opportunity of a burgeoning global market.
Regardless of a company’s headquarters or origin country, any organisation with significant operations online should consider itself a global enterprise. Customers may now access your website 24/7 from different time zones and with varying connectivity.
Our research found that 70% of consumers globally have bought from foreign retailers within the past year. But with greater access and reach, also comes greater competition and greater pressure to meet the needs of an increasingly savvy and demanding consumer. Clarity and insight into your network is an imperative, not a luxury. Executives who want to fully harness these opportunities must be able to monitor, control and optimise their Internet performance. The following are 4 rules to keep in mind when developing a smart, sustainable cross-border ecommerce strategy.
Consumers expect an end-user experience that is fast and seamless. According to Dyn’s recent survey of global consumers, 3 seconds is the longest a majority of consumers (64%) will wait for a shopping website to load. This doesn’t leave much room for error, especially for companies looking to capitalise on cross-border ecommerce.
It is essential for retailers to monitor and understand their Internet Performance at scale to ensure the Internet is a competitive advantage, not a liability. Another smart business choice is to consider load balancing solutions to ensure that as global demand shifts, so does your support to ensure total access.
Here’s an example: When a customer types your URL into a browser they’re making a Domain Name System (DNS) request, which translates that URL to the corresponding IP address. Often, there are as many as 10-20 DNS lookups associated with your website’s domains. Each of those DNS requests is not only an opportunity to improve the end user experience, but also a risk to delay the performance of that web page. The difference between 20ms DNS requests and 100ms requests doesn’t seem like much. However, this can significantly affect the page load time if there are 10+ requests.
Fail to plan or plan to fail
Contingency plans are not new, but surprisingly few business leaders implement full continuity plans in the event of a failure or outage. The Internet is a dynamic place and hijacks, redirects and outages are more common than most people realize – there are about 3,000 such outages that occur online every day.
It is also inevitable that your site will be down for maintenance from time-to-time. In this case, you shouldn’t plan to be down for business. What is your backup and how easy is it to implement in the event of a change in Internet conditions? This starts at the DNS layer and ensures that sites survive outages and traffic spikes without any subsequent loss of performance or revenue. WIth customers around the world potentially accessing your business, make sure you have a backup plan that will protect your sales and brand reputation and deliver a consistent customer experience.
Mobile is the present – and future
Mobile is the preferred – and in some cases, the only – channel to access eRetail in many countries around the world. In 2014, mobile sales accounted for 41 percent of ecommerce in India—more than any other country including China (33 percent) and the US (15 percent). And in the UK, consumers expect the same experience that they have from desktop or laptop experiences. Retailers must remember that many shoppers’ online experience with a brand starts with a mobile website. Monitoring and optimising Internet Performance for mobile devices is a mission-critical step for any company hoping to make strides in cross-border ecommerce.
Internet performance is the top differentiator
Investing in Internet infrastructure that delivers a world-class online customer experience is the key to staying on top of the competition as the retail world continues to become more flat. Allowing for scalability, flexibility and mitigating for changes in Internet conditions across regions will be the challenge of the coming decade. Our research indicates that 88% of consumers would possibly or definitely purchase from retailers located in other countries if the experience was faster and easier. The world is open to cross-border online shopping – but the performance must match the promise.
Managing Internet Performance is a job that involves a true understanding and insight into not only your global online infrastructure but your partners’ as well. Customers expect a fast, secure and reliable experience that is consistent no matter their geographic location or time of day. Acing the Internet Performance test means delivering the customer experience for consumers every time they visit your site. Cloud providers, ISPs, CDNs and data centers must all be aligned and constantly monitored to ensure customers are getting the experiences they expect. Any blind spot in this process threatens to turn off a prospect, send a customer to a competitor site and damage brand loyalty for large swaths of a retailer’s customer base.
As technology has matured and borders to business have come down, customers are more accessible and more open to finding retailers that can deliver products and service regardless of their location. A physical presence is unnecessary when a business can have an internationally accessible online storefront. But with greater opportunity comes greater responsibility to ensure that customers have an unrivaled experience regardless of online channel, geography or market size. Invest in Internet Performance solutions to make the most of the coming opportunity for cross-border ecommerce. The stakes to dominate on a global scale could never be higher.
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