The Four Ways To Win At Cross Border Commerce

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7:15 AM EDT July 16th, 2014


It’s baacck. About twenty years ago, the big corporate buzzword was “glocal” – the global plus local business strategy that defined how multinationals would compete successfully on a global stage. Well, “glocal” is not only back, it’s the imprimatur of a strategy that makes the most of the cross border commerce opportunities that tempt businesses of all sizes. Taking on global ecommerce is not an easy process for merchants – and can be utterly overwhelming. Customer expectations, cultural norms, not to mention tax and legal requirements vary dramatically from country to country. And a one-size fits all marketing solution for global expansion is the ultimate recipe for disaster. In a recent white paper, “Going Global, Selling Local: Preparing Your Business to Grab Its Share of the Online Market,” Digital River World Payments lays out four distinct strategies for making “going global everywhere” work and a checklist for what ecommerce businesses should do to make the most of the global opportunities that are before them.

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A “one-size fits all” marketing strategy is not the solution for companies looking to expand abroad. According to the white paper (click here to download), “Customer expectations and shopping preferences, cultural norms, as well as tax and legal requirements vary dramatically, not just from country-to-country, but also city-to-city and in some cases minute-to-minute.”

According to Digital River, in order to grab big opportunities, companies must be more than just lucky. Of course, they must be able to instantly configure their ecommerce stores to highlight and promote key products – but they have to customize offerings for buyers in each market. This calls for an understanding of local preferences, language, cultural norms, currencies, payment methods, regulations, and taxes.

In other words, it’s all about having a global mindset.



Just as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has come to an end, it’s clear that football, the world’s most popular sport, “has the power to draw both global and local audiences and ignite excitement or disappointment in a single play. A well-placed kick can create a flash marketing opportunity and drive a sales opportunity as fans rush to buy a jersey of the newest sports hero,” Digital River points out. “The companies that stand to profit from these flash opportunities are the ones that are ready with a localized online store and that are agile enough to take advantage of changes in market conditions and demand at a moment’s notice.”

The best way to go about localization is to implement a solution that is “scalable, internally transparent, highly controllable and flexible.” This allows companies to sell locally, but also lets them have high control and visibility across a network of sites and the ability to make near real-time changes as they go.

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Ecommerce marketers usually go about one of the four strategies when building an online program.

1) The Marketing Only Approach: Letting the opportunity present itself. Companies that take this approach rely on established brand awareness or organic search engine results to drive traffic to their sites.

Best suited for: “Companies that intend to limit their international market presence or that lack the resources to take another path.”


2) The Broad-Brush Approach: For those trying out localization, the easiest approach is to focus on technology aspects of implementing a local (and “cookie-cutter”) ecommerce site.

Best suited for:Companies that already have a global brand presence and/or a compelling product line that a loyal customer base will actively seek out.”


3) The Market-Specific Strategy: This relies on a network of local ecommerce solutions designed specifically for local markets. This leads to sites that meet local customer expectations, comply with local regulatory and tax requirements, and fit local customers’ expectations when it comes to the shopping experience.

Best suited for: “Companies that plan a limited, one-by-one expansion into a small number of markets.”


4) The Multi-National Approach: This method involves implementing a global platform that is flexible for localization in every aspect of the customer experience. It also offers the cost savings and efficiencies of more centralized approaches.

Best suited for:Companies who either plan or contemplate a broad and/or rapid expansion into international markets, or have limited resources to manage their ecommerce activities.”



Despite the path a company chooses to follow when selling cross-border, they must consider the following criteria of the technical solution: flexibility, control, scalability and transparency.

Overall, the right solution will provide a company with tools to control the look and feel of the site, drive sales, test marketing strategies, and remain in-check with a company’s business goals. The solution will also have an e-commerce team that will “have the track record and the experience to understand the real as well as the digital world,” a team of marketing, commerce, and fraud prevention experts, and a “24x7x365” support desk.


To get Digital River World Payment’s 12-point “Go Local Everywhere” checklist and download the full white paper, click the button below.




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