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The Opportunities and Challenges for E-retailers Going Global

The Internet has played a major role in shaping today’s interconnected, global economy. One could even argue that any company connected to the Internet is automatically an international organization, given their reach via the World Wide Web—that’s especially true for the eCommerce sector. A mom-and-pop retail store in Toronto can use their website to reach customers in the U.S., Europe and even Asia. That means higher revenue potential and new sales opportunities.

However, it also brings a number of challenges. For instance, how can those retailers make sure that their website is in the right language, and their business practices align with local markets? How can they ensure proper performance and support from thousands of miles away?

This was the subject of our latest research findings, based on a survey of 300 eCommerce decision makers in the U.S., UK and Canada. Based on these results, it’s clear that the challenges of internationalization present real risks for e-retailers. As an example, 76 percent of those surveyed believe the quality of user experience on their eCommerce website directly impacts customers’ perceptions of their brand. At the same time, nearly 1 in 5 eCommerce brands plan to launch or expand their website’s international capabilities this year. How can e-retailers balance this expansion with maintaining strong web performance?

To address that question, many e-retailers are planning to invest in this area of their business in 2014—they’re creating websites in the local languages of the geographies they want to sell to, and making available purchasing options that comply with local currencies. It’s a simple concept: the more local markets a website is optimized for, the more responsive (and happy!) its customers will be.

These investments are a step in the right direction, but it’s important to note that even websites optimized for international audiences are of little value if they don’t load—or if they load slowly. That means a company based in Toronto needs to be able to lay down at night knowing their German website will not crash and lose them money while they sleep. And that requires a strong hosting solution based on customized infrastructure to deliver the best performance possible.

So, what’s the solution? Much of it will be a learning experience, as more and more eCommerce providers expand their operations to the furthest corners of the globe. A strategic partner that understands this process and can offer infrastructure optimized for your eCommerce platform will expedite that process. You can learn more about PEER 1’s eCommerce optimized hosting options here.

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