UK eCommerce has greatest opportunity for global growth – is your business maximising on it?

15th June 2015

Online shopping set to double in largest markets by 2018

UK retail brands are strong abroad and have the greatest potential for international growth but retailers could be missing out according to a study released this month by OC& C with Paypal and Google.

New research shows online shopping is set to double to a value of £645bn by 2018 in the largest four markets – UK, US, China and Germany. The study shows that British retailers are the most popular international brands for German shoppers and the second most popular in China and the US.

International markets are also more valuable, with Chinese shoppers spending 2.7 times more with UK retailers than domestic shoppers, and German consumers 1.7 times more.

However according to OC&C, the majority of UK retailers are only doing the bare minimum for global markets, such as offering international delivery from existing UK websites and providing local returns addresses.

The study claims UK retailers could be earning up to 60% more by implementing better localisation such as building trust with local consumers, implementing local payment preferences and putting infrastructure in place to match local competitors on speed.

Fast available website experience similar to that of domestic sites is essential to establish trust and deliver a positive eCommerce experience. Fast websites delivered globally across multiple devices will increase completed transactions. For example in the U.S, 51% of shoppers will not complete an online purchase if the website is too slow. Load testing before launching to a new market and ongoing web performance monitoring particularly across mobile devices are essential for ensuring optimum website speed and availability.

As stated in our earlier taking eCommerce global blog, another key to global success is understanding local preferences such as payment options and fulfillment, and localising your retail offering to deliver those features. For example German customers expect a wider range of payment options including invoicing after an order is received. In China consumers rely on social media such as Weibo more than North American consumers for product information.

Examples of retailers successfully going deeper include thinkTRIBE client Boden. Boden set up a local warehouse in the US to increase speed to market and began accepting Paypal to support US growth. In Germany it initiated open invoicing, an important payment option for German consumers.

British consumers are the most prolific mobile shoppers, with 59% of online sales delivered through smartphones or tablets, compared to 45% in the US and 24% in Germany. This mobile experience should give UK retailers the edge on mobile-first strategies. Will your business maximise on this rapidly growing opportunity?

The Cracking the World’s Largest eCommerce Markets” report analyses search and transaction data from Google and PayPal and the online shopping habits of consumers in what will be the four largest online retail markets by 2018.

Find out more about taking your eCommerce operation global in out 2 part blog.