Author: Jonathan Matchett, UK Managing Director, wnDirect
With Beyoncé strutting her stuff for Topshop, the Kardashians lending their ‘style’ tips to Lipsy and the Beckhams going all LA, it’s clear that the desire for all things British is still going strong.
Whilst fluctuations in the pound have been the cause of woe for many British businesses, those selling their goods to US online shoppers will have found that one man’s fortune is another man’s misery as their products will have suddenly become even more attractive in terms of their price.
These things combined means that the US represents an even more favourable target audiences for British online retailers.
That said…proceed with caution. Where eCommerce is concerned, it pays to remember that despite the rise of global culture, everyone across the world does not necessarily share the same tastes and values. Localisation is crucial to successfully tapping into local demand.
Whilst the US has made great strides in terms of eCommerce, the market is still evolving with services such as Click and Collect, or BOPUS (Buy Online Pick Up Instore) as the Americans say, only just starting to gain traction. These store collection services are also being motivated by the fact that many consumers, regardless of their country of origin, want things faster, easier and with less commitment. Why stand in line and order your Starbucks coffee when you can use the app and have it ready when you arrive? British retailers need to consider how to integrate speed and convenience with their US offering; not an easy task when the destination is a few thousand miles away.
British retailers have to be cognisant of the fact that just because the US is behind the cross-border eCommerce curve, it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily going to follow the same pattern. It is likely that the US will look to other countries, such as the UK, and forfeit or leapfrog some of the steps, learning from the experiences of other markets.
The need for transparency and its role in customer loyalty is an ever growing trend. Online shoppers want to know where an item is coming from and how long it will take. Online shoppers are increasingly aware that to buy cheaper goods, from China for example, there is a price to pay in terms of longer shipping time.
All of a sudden, the playing field has got a whole lot bigger. At one time, international retail was the sole preserve of the big brands. Now, the barriers to entry are reducing dramatically, as an increasing amount of online selling tools are made readily available, empowering more SMEs to develop a cross-border strategy. With the advantage of their unique Britishness, boutique brands have a lot to offer US customers and should be encouraged to strongly consider the ‘land of opportunity’.
This piece, written by wnDirect, was also in partnership with Newgistics.