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Global Ecommerce

Three reasons to consider a cross-border marketplace strategy

By Jon Kapplow, SVP Consumer & Merchant Solutions, Pitney Bowes

Why stores need to sell on marketplaces if they want to
succeed in cross-border ecommerce.

Thanks to its huge share of the ecommerce market (around 40 percent, according to reports) Amazon has earned the moniker of “retail giant” here in the U.S. Well, if Amazon is a giant, what does that make Alibaba, which owns around 80 percent of the Chinese ecommerce market? A supergiant?

Whatever you want to call it, you can’t deny the impact created by Alibaba’s influence on online shopping in China. Foreign retailers hoping to attract Chinese cross-border shoppers need to be aware of the huge local preference for marketplaces. In fact, our 2016 Global Online Shopping Study found that 83 percent of Chinese shoppers would prefer to buy from a marketplace instead of a retail website.

Does that mean cross-border retailers should forget about building a direct website? Not at all. A global retail website offers a home base for domestic and international shoppers who are already familiar with your brand or who want to be sure of product authenticity.

Retailers ultimately need to have both: an accessible, localised global website and a presence on local marketplaces. A strong marketplace ecommerce strategy is especially important for brands that are entering new markets for the first time. Here are three reasons why.

Reach More Customers Faster

Again, depending on the market, local consumers might be much more comfortable shopping on a marketplace than from a retailer’s website. As a result, selling from a marketplace can help retailers reach more customers, and earn more revenue, earlier in their transition to cross-border ecommerce.

Besides China, Japan (82 percent) and India (81 percent) are markets where a huge proportion of local shoppers said they prefer buying from a marketplace, according to our study. The reasons why vary.

Besides the huge local presence of retail super giants like Alibaba, shoppers say they like marketplaces because of the wide product selection, better deals and the convenience of features like one-click checkout.

All of the Perks, Available Immediately

Those features speak to another reason to consider selling on local marketplaces. Retailers are immediately able to offer buyers all of the built-in conveniences already provided by the marketplace platform, including one-click checkout, local currencies and payment options, and a mobile app.

As a result, customers get exposure to your brand while enjoying the convenient, trusted shopping experience they expect.

Build Trust in the Brand

If cross-border shoppers love marketplaces so much, why would they want to visit your retail website? Our study found that international buyers will shop direct if they want a personalised experience or better quality products, and because they trust the brand.

Trust is a key quality, and besides increasing exposure, marketplaces allow to you build loyalty and trust in your brand. When you’re on a marketplace, you'll see a ripple effect of consumers migrating to your website to see what you're all about. Once they become familiar with the quality of your products and service, they’ll keep coming back for more.

That’s why it’s important to have a two-tier strategy: a strong marketplace shop and a relevant, localised retail website. Pairing the two allows you to find and retain cross-border customers in any new international market.

Learn about Complete™ Marketplace from Pitney Bowes, a turn-key solution that is simple and scalable, enabling your brand and products to appear on leading global marketplaces.

You can also download the full 2016 Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study report to learn more about the buying preferences of global buyers.







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