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How global brands can capitalise on the Far East’s appetite for shopping online

How global brands can capitalise on the Far East's appetite for shopping online [Photo: Martin Dimitrov via iStock]
in Retail and Ecommerce

Ecommerce is a big business the world over. Of the global retail sales for all sectors in 2016, eMarketer predicts growth that will take figures to more than $22 trillion. And ecommerce is now taking up a substantial chunk of this total. Of all sales across the world, just under ten per cent ($1.91 trillion) is expected to come from ecommerce alone. 

For companies operating in this sector, the continued rise of online sales presents a fantastic opportunity for growth in their chosen markets. But it is only those who can recognise these opportunities and can correctly identify how to make the most of them who will have the ability to give themselves a head start on moving their brands forward.

Identifying the right markets

One of the biggest keys to capitalising on the growth of online shopping is to recognise gaps in the market and emerging areas. If you are going to places where there are fewer competitors then the chance of you being successful is much greater. 

At the moment, the largest market in the ecommerce world is the Asia-Pacific region, which surprisingly represents a more sizable chunk of the online shopping income across the world than any other.

According to eMarketer, in 2016, Asia-Pacific is expected to bring in sales of $1 trillion alone, a figure which is predicted to rise towards $2.2 trillion by the end of the decade. This growth potential makes the Far East a fantastic place for brands with globalisation in mind when they are making a move to other countries. 

One nation that could be particularly of interest is China, which represents more sales in ecommerce than any other country on the planet. It is predicted that China will this year see online sales topping $800 trillion, representing as much as 47 per cent of the world's total for 2016, and far ahead of the US, which most might expect to top the list worldwide. 

Not only is China a fantastic market regarding sales, however. It also has the advantage of a change in the way people within the nation have chosen to shop in recent years. According to the Telegraph, the last few years have seen a rise in trendy young Chinese shoppers looking towards cross-border companies for luxury brands and items that are not yet released in China. 

For companies that are looking to go global, this represents a chance to tap into a growing audience of people looking to shop in new ways. But it also means having to adapt strategies and change their websites to ensure these shoppers come face to face with a user interface they want to use, and one on which they can shop easily. 

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Developing a globalisation strategy

For most companies, taking advantage of this chance to appeal to new target markets will mean employing a strategy of effective translation and the adaptation of their site to meet the needs of consumers in new markets. 

For example, closing the gap between the number of users in China and the content available in Chinese is an absolute must when trying to optimise a website to appeal to users in the country. Internet World Stats data shows that at present, while more than 20 per cent of online customers speak primarily Chinese, only around two per cent of all content on the internet is in their native language. 

Companies looking to expand and appeal to the young Chinese buyer can, therefore, improve their chances of success simply by supplying them with well-translated content that talks to them, gives them the information they are interested in and encourages them to make a purchase. By making themselves one of the few companies that offer well-translated and effective content, businesses give themselves a competitive advantage over others who may be looking to tap into the same audience. 

It's also important for firms moving into any country, not just China, to make sure that they are best optimising their websites for the ways that people choose to shop. For example, as we know, mobile websites are often preferable to traditional desktop sites for shopping on connected devices. 

In China, the vast majority of shoppers have now moved beyond the traditional desktop for their online shopping experience. According to China Internet Watch, of those who shop online, 78 per cent will use multiple devices to browse, research and shop for products. As a result of this technological evolution, companies are now having to learn more about the user journey and experience to work out what sorts of devices they need to optimise their sites for to give themselves the best appeal and the best chance of success overall. 

When it comes to success in the world of ecommerce, globalisation has become the key to growth and prospects. But for companies looking to make a move into new markets, it's important to know not only where the best place to seek out new opportunities is, but also to identify what they need to change to make sure they put themselves forward as the best possible option for their chosen target audience.

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