Defining the ‘global opportunity’ for retailers

As online spending continues to soar, the opportunities available to merchants are endless. In fact, market research predicts that global digital payments will surpass $3.3 trillion this year alone.

The rise of digital wallets and ecosystems is proving to be a game-changing trend for retailers, opening the door to swathes of new customers and higher conversion rates. According to Forrester, gone are the days when retailers operated in one or two international markets. Today retailers seek to go global from birth.

Still, without the right tools and market expertise, retailers can often fall short in their goal of establishing a strong global e-commerce footprint. This approach requires guidance, the right tools and a clear understanding of the local insight needed to cater to a global customer base.

So, how can today’s retailers capitalise on the wealth of opportunities available to them and make a truly global business strategy?

Understand and cater to local markets



A huge advantage of online shopping is that it transcends borders and geographies. This offers retailers an exciting opportunity to open their digital doors to a global audience. Nevertheless, when it comes to serving a global audience, there’s no “one size fits all”. Retailers must cater to the specific nuances of local markets to ensure success.

Indeed, as our recent Global Payments report outlines, a considered understanding of the specific needs and expectations of local markets is crucial to any successful global strategy. Retailers must approach global expansion strategically, assessing each market by considering factors such as ease of entry, payment customs, behavioural traits as well as the competitive landscape to ensure payment solutions are intuitive and desirable to local markets.

Our research defines four key global consumer profiles which retailers must recognise in their journey towards a global e-commerce strategy. It also explores specific market traits, socio-economic factors and payment customs which retailers must account for when entering these locations.

Harness the power of digital wallets



Global strategies can often seem daunting. In the past, if retailers wanted to enter another international market, they’d likely have to research and integrate various regional payment methods and currencies. These often add complexity to their business models and drain resources. These days however, this dilemma can be solved seamlessly with a well-architected digital wallet adoption strategy, which helps to extend retailers’ reach without stretching resources.  

Digital wallets are not only here to stay, they’re becoming a payments force which is proving crucial to global expansion. Developing a digital wallet strategy simplifies global expansion, and services such as Braintree provide a platform which offers retailers access to consumers in countries all over the world, enabling them to easily integrate global payment components, meaning they can scale with ease and overcome the complexities of each different market.

What’s more, as our findings demonstrate, digital wallet strategies are now essential to a successful global expansion, with 2.1 billion global consumers expected to use this method of payment by 2019, an increase of almost 30% from 2017. Looking more closely at the UK in particular, our research reveals that almost a third (25.9%) of UK consumers are now using third-party payment platforms or apps, with speed, convenience and security all considered to be key differentiators in this behavioural shift.

Our study also finds a similar pattern emerging across much of Europe and North America, further highlighting the importance of digital wallets and digital payment methods in global retail expansion efforts.

Make use of global partners



In the journey towards a strong global e-commerce footprint, it’s also vital for retailers to leverage partnerships that are truly global in nature. Working with partners whose international network can enable business expansion and create new business capabilities is massively advantageous in today’s commerce, particularly when dealing with different consumer preferences across an array of different geographies.

Nevertheless, leveraging these global partnerships relies heavily on appealing to a broad range of users and having an extensive understanding of the markets in which merchants operate. Specifically, businesses can benefit from the correct guidance as well as an appreciation of local customer expectations to fully capitalise on this global opportunity and streamline market entry.

Looking Ahead

In the retail landscape of today, globalisation is both an exciting and increasingly profitable opportunity for businesses. As technology advances, making it easier to access new markets, it’s key that businesses incorporate digital wallet strategies and take advantage of global partnerships to ensure they keep pace with the rampantly evolving retail landscape.

David Nunn is the head of Braintree Europe, since 2013. Braintree, a PayPal company, online and mobile full-service payments platform.   

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