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eCommerce Innovation - Importance of a Global View

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

international ecommerce platforms

Looking Outside the USA for Innovation

In the ever-growing world of ecommerce, businesses need robust and reliable platforms to sell their goods and services online. Many successful ecommerce service providers, such as Shopify, Maropost, BigCommerce, and ePages, have found significant success in this arena, offering a range of services to small and medium-sized businesses across the globe. Interestingly, these companies initiated their operations outside of the United States, a detail that seems to play a role in their success.

So why do international companies with an early global market view succeed where other companies don't? There are of course many successful companies that started in the USA. But again the most successful of these knew that they needed to have a global view. The web made global business much simpler. Understanding successful international businesses can help new business start-up and businesses that are expanding their markets. Not just in software and ecommerce.

In some respects, true gobalisation was made possible for many businesses because of the web and improvements in technology. Now AI is also playing a part in enhancing the speed at which solutions can be found to global problems. This allows businesses to reach customers from every corner of the globe, providing a platform to sell goods and services internationally without the significant investment typically associated with global expansion.

Shopify - Canadian Beginnings

Shopify originated in Canada and is an example or an e-commerce platform that have gained immense popularity internationally. Shopify, even though the company was founded in 2006, the story actually began in 2004. Three friends in Ottawa, Canada, Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake, created an online store for snowboarding, Snowdevil. What started as a platform for small businesses and has now grown to host over a million businesses from around the world. Now securely placed in the US market, Shopify (NASDAQ: SHOP) is listed and the company value has greatly increased.

Maropost Commerce Cloud - Australian foundations

Maropost Commerce Cloud started out as Neto in Australia in 2009. Look about 12 years in and Neto is Maropost Commerce Cloud, an award-winning platform used by thousands of retailers and wholesalers worldwide. Before 2009 Ryan Murtagh, Founder of Neto built a platform because they were struggling to scale their online retail business efficiently. To accelerate they wanted to manage every aspect of their business from a single tool. From ecommerce and marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, to point of sale, to inventory and fulfilment, Maropost Commerce Cloud (previously Neto) was created to unify the components and processes for successful ecommerce.

Maropost has expanded its offerings beyond ecommerce to provide a multi-channel marketing automation platform, helping businesses enhance their customer engagement and marketing strategies.

BigCommerce - An Australian Success Story

BigCommerce also NASDAQ listed (NASDAQ: BIGC) was founded in Sydney, Australia in 2009 by Australians Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper, who met in an online chatroom in 2003. BigCommerce is another successful ecommerce platform that has migrated to the United States to capture a larger market share. Like Shopify, BigCommerce provides small and medium-sized businesses with a comprehensive solution for launching and managing online stores, offering various themes, payment gateways, and marketing features to boost online sales.

ePages - German Efficiency in eCommerce

ePages was founded in 2002 by Wilfried Beeck in Germany, ePages offers cloud-driven e-commerce solutions to businesses in over 75 countries, simplifying the complexities of online store setups and management. The company's platform includes various ecommerce features, such as shop design, product management, and payment processing, designed for ease of use and efficiency.

The Migration to the U.S. Market

Many of these companies migrated to the United States as part of their expansion strategy, capitalising on the market size and extensive opportunities available. Sometimes driven by sales opportunities or investor opportunities. The U.S. is one of the largest and most lucrative ecommerce markets in the world, making it an attractive destination for ecommerce platforms seeking growth and global dominance.

The Puzzle of U.S. Origin Platforms

Interestingly, while these non-U.S. originated platforms have thrived, many systems that started in the United States have struggled to reach a similar level of success. One possible explanation is the intensely competitive environment within the U.S., where numerous e-commerce platforms vie for market share. This competition can dilute resources and focus, leading to slower growth and development.

Another aspect could be the different market dynamics and consumer behaviours in various countries. Companies originating outside the U.S. might have a broader perspective on global market trends and consumer demands, helping them adapt and innovate their platforms to meet the needs of a diverse customer base.

In examining the history and development of Maropost, Shopify, BigCommerce, and ePages, it is clear that their non-U.S. origins have played a significant role in their global success. Their unique perspectives on market trends, consumer demands, and e-commerce solutions have allowed them to innovate and adapt their platforms to meet the needs of businesses worldwide.

Their migration to the U.S. underscores the importance of the American market in the global ecommerce landscape. However, the challenges faced by U.S.-origin platforms highlight the need for continued innovation, adaptability, and a global perspective to succeed in the dynamic and competitive world of ecommerce.

Importance of a Global View

ecommerce a global view

eCommerce has transcended beyond national borders, making the world a global marketplace. The importance of adopting a global view in ecommerce cannot be overstated, as it influences various aspects, from market expansion to customer satisfaction. Below are some key areas highlighting the significance of a global perspective in the ecommerce sector.

Access to New Markets

A global perspective allows businesses to expand their reach to international markets, potentially increasing their customer base exponentially. The internet erases geographical boundaries, allowing businesses to offer their products and services worldwide.

Entering global markets helps in diversifying the customer base, which can be crucial for the stability and growth of a business. It provides a buffer against local economic downturns, ensuring steady revenue streams.

Understanding Diverse Consumer Behaviour:

A global view helps companies to understand diverse consumer behaviors and preferences. This understanding is essential to customize marketing strategies, products, and services to meet the specific needs and expectations of different markets. Understanding and respecting cultural differences is critical for global ecommerce success. It helps in building positive brand perception and loyalty among international customers.

Innovation and Adaptability

Global exposure provides insights into emerging global trends, technologies, and business models, fostering innovation and adaptability. Companies that are attuned to global market trends and consumer preferences are better positioned to innovate and adapt, gaining a competitive edge.

Optimized Supply Chain and Logistics

A global perspective aids in optimizing supply chain and logistics for international operations, ensuring timely and cost-effective delivery of products and services. Businesses can form strategic international partnerships and alliances to enhance their supply chain and logistics operations.

Regulatory Compliance

Understanding Global Regulations and Sustainability: Businesses with a global outlook are more adept at navigating international laws and regulations, ensuring compliance and mitigating legal risks. A global view also emphasises the importance of sustainability and corporate responsibility, critical factors for modern consumers and regulatory compliance.

Enhanced Customer Service

Global ecommerce businesses can better understand and meet the expectations of a diverse customer base, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Multi-Lingual Support and offering customer service in multiple languages is crucial for global ecommerce success, ensuring effective communication and support for international customers.

web and ai for globalisation

Use the Technology to be Global

Online Sales and E-commerce is a key factor

Businesses can operate around the clock, offering products and services to customers regardless of time zones. Online platforms provide convenience to customers, making it easier for them to make purchases, leading to increased sales and revenue.

Marketing and Advertising

Businesses can leverage various digital marketing strategies, including social media, search engine marketing, and email marketing, to reach a global audience effectively.

Online advertising is often more cost-effective compared to traditional advertising mediums, allowing businesses to reach a larger audience with a smaller budget.

Market Research

The web, and now AI, provides tools and platforms for businesses to conduct market research, gaining insights into consumer behaviour, preferences, and trends across different global markets.

Product Development

Product planning and management can use global consumer feedback and data to enhance their products or services in real-time, tailoring solutions to meet diverse global customer needs.

Communication and Collaboration

Organisation and teams can communicate in real-time with customers and partners worldwide, enhancing customer service and fostering global partnerships.

The web offers various collaboration tools that allow teams to work together seamlessly, regardless of geographical location. There is a wealth of global knowledge and expertise that can be accessed via the web and AI to enhance business operations and strategies.

Regulatory and Cultural Compliance

Online resources help businesses understand and comply with international laws and regulations, mitigating legal risks. The web offers insights into global cultures, helping businesses tailor their approach to diverse markets, ensuring cultural sensitivity and respect.

Take advantage of technology

Technology, like the web and AI, can be powerful tools. Used correctly the right technology can propel businesses to global success. Technology offers opportunities for international sales, marketing, communication, and collaboration, as well as providing essential insights into global markets, trends, and regulations. By leveraging the opportunities, businesses can not only expand their reach but also enhance their operations, products, and services to meet the demands of a global customer base. Technology can be an essential part of global strategy, ultimately achieving sustained global success.

Author: John Debrincat FACS, MAICD


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