COVID-19 has completely uprooted the normalcy of life, but one industry in particular has experienced significant benefits as a result of these drastic changes to the way we go about everyday activities. Cross border e-commerce has become imperative for retail brands to tap into in order to stay competitive in the global market, especially as new omnichannel opportunities have emerged. Consequently, these companies will therefore encounter long term success, growth, and profitability. COVID-19 has affected not just one country, but the entire world; therefore, businesses needed to rapidly adjust all operating activities, from production, distribution, sales, and marketing, to name a few, onto e-commerce platforms in order to continue attracting consumers of various cultural backgrounds as everything has shifted into the digital space.
As a result of the global pandemic, US brands that entered international markets experienced exponential growth. By adapting retail strategies to match those of consumers online, businesses have seen sales rise over time. As reported by Total Retail data, US brands selling across borders through e-commerce platforms saw an overall 106% increase in retail sales within the first three months of the pandemic. Please refer to the chart below for a more specific data comparison on Israel’s, Ireland’s & New Zealand’s online retail markets trends. Globally, consumers spend hours online shopping, so now is the best time for businesses to seek new opportunities to match consumer demand on a much larger scale.
Through strategic partnerships with international companies, US brands, for example, can enter European markets with a slight lead in the market since they have insider help. Such cross-border partnerships are essential for offering unique insights into the consumer behaviors of specific cultures and their dynamics. Cultural preferences differ abroad, thus US brands need to be sensitive to such behaviors in order to continue their expansion. Partnerships can lead to numerous benefits for US brands success: better promotional offerings, adaptability to differing technology platforms, ease of communication, and stronger marketing campaigns. As outlined in the chart, we can see how each of the three countries below vary across cultural dimensions utilizing the Hofstede Model of the 6 dimensions of cultures. The Hofstede Model is helpful for businesses to better adjust their retail product offerings and marketing strategies to match those of cultural dynamics in the country of choice. For example, it appears that Israel is culturally less patriarchal in comparison to Ireland, which can lead to businesses altering their retail offerings across different cultures. US brands selling in Israel may offer more feminine-oriented products whereas Ireland may be better suited with more masculine-oriented products.
Businesses need to be agile in the marketplace in order to quickly and accurately respond to shifts in consumer trends cross-culturally. Cross border e-commerce presents additional growth opportunities in a much more fluid, flexible, and secure manner. Entering new markets mitigates risk, and even though cultures vary greatly across the spectrum, businesses that can adapt their products or services to fit the needs of consumers in specific target geographic regions will ultimately be successful. If brands choose to avoid partnerships with international companies, they can always utilize e-commerce plug-ins on their platform to ensure personalized experiences for all consumers. Whether it be a shopper in Russia looking for a winter coat, or a consumer in Hawaii shopping for a swimsuit, for instance, businesses can offer hyper localized experiences. These changes to business models will translate into stronger customer loyalty and retention rates.