Etailers must visit local physical stores in new markets to fully understand the domestic shoppers, personalise their offering and “never stop optimising”, ecommerce specialists have warned.
Speaking at the Internet World Ecommerce Fair 2015 in Munich, Philip Rooke, chief executive of German print-on-demand T-shirt brand Spreadshirts said localisation for international etailers is becoming increasingly important to help differentiate businesses and build loyalty.
He said the “local retail environment affects online” so if you want to expand online you have got to go shopping and see how each country works as “alien behaviours alienate.
“Retailers need to tune into the different behaviours of shoppers around the world and adapt to it.”
He explained German shoppers will hold up a product to look at the fit, whereas US shoppers will first look at the price tag, so websites need to reflect these behaviours by clearly providing the information shoppers are looking for.
He added that different countries also have different attitudes to mobile shopping, with US consumers happy to buy using mobiles and tablets as credit card providers are quick to refund frauds, whereas in the UK shoppers browse on smartphones and tablets when out and about but tend to buy when at home using secure wifi. Brazilians however, are so concerned about the security of wifi they will browse using phones and tablets but choose to buy using desktops.
Rooke said the wording used by etailers can also put shoppers off. Spreadshirts last year found 62% of German shoppers completed their checkout, whereas this dropped to just 36% in Australia and on investigation the company realised this was partly due to phrasing used on the site, such as the word postage when Australians refer to shipping and this “unnerved them as it didn’t look right”.
“Thoughts and words drive consumers. Alien behaviours alientate,” he said. To tackle this he suggested retailers “need to get natives into your business. You need to have locals look at your website.”
Mark Lewis, co-founder of ecommerce consultancy Practicology, added we are now entering the age of “Web 3.0, the personal web”.
“This doesn’t just mean saying ‘Hi Mark’ on a general newsletter, or putting my name on a bottle of Coke or a Starbucks coffee. Personalisation is about the confluence of delivering the right product, to the right person at the right time, through the right channel. It’s about relevance to the customer and making them feel you understand them and you are there to help them.”
His golden rules for personalisation include not over personalising as this can be intrusive and invasive for consumers, giving shoppers transparency and control over personalisation, only asking consumers for information that you’ll actually use, and not personalising everything in case you miss serendipitous matches.
Ecommerce and cross border specialist Sïmon Saneback added that the online retail world is like “a red ocean” as all retailers are fighting for market share but very few are making money. He said consumers are now king and are “becoming bigger than brands”.
“The key to survival is never stop optimising,” he said. “You need to stop thinking like a website but think like a brand. You need to disrupt the market.”