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Drapers Digital Forum: Emerging trends in the global marketplace

A panel of global retailers discussed in The Drapers Digital Forum Global Voices debate how they built their businesses and what the emerging trends were in the international market.

Chaired by Carl Miller, the managing director of Global Retail Insights Network (GRIN), and Drapers news editor Kirsty McGregor, the three main points of discussion covered: how to design a localisation process in a global business, how to create a culture of open innovation and collaboration, and the challenges of evaluating providers.

Miller started it off by saying: “Real leaders of global ecommerce understand that it’s a start-up journey. You need to be nimble and ready to go.”

David Menning, chief executive at Motion Global, agreed: “You must have local expertise and local experience from each country to build your business successfully in other countries,” he said.

Claire Muir, business development director at logistics provider Arvato Supply Chain Management, said that businesses “must tap into different solutions, ones that may be more popular in different countries”.

“New things might seem scary,” Muir said. “Something that maybe Amazon is doing is small now may in three to five years become an expectation, so we need to have the infrastructure ready for it.”

Sophie Sun, who runs ecommerce site for luxury brands 5Lux in Beijing, provides a platform for grants to aid in the transformation from offline to online stores.

“In China many offline brands are closing because so many people shop online now and they need help to digitalise,” Sun said.

“Delivering the best product within a great experience will always be at the core for us,” Menning added.

“You must respect local tastes and fit, tailor clothes for countries where they are selling,” explained Pavlina Louzenska, marketing director at Zoot, which pioneered “Try & Buy” stores in the Czech Republic. “I don’t think customers want to buy things – they want to experience things and that’s why content is important. When you are buying an image, you are buying a dream.”

When asked about the forthcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, Sarah Wright, partner and head of trademarks at Olswang, said, “If we come out of the European Union, it could make it harder for UK businesses to set up outside of UK and vice versa. There is currently a single set of business rules, and we don’t want to come out of that.”

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