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  • Writer's pictureHaines Consulting Group

Cross-border eCommerce

Technological advancements have made the world a much smaller place than it used to be, with instant global communication enabling people from all over the world to communicate with the tap of a finger. This ability to communicate has given rise to business opportunities all over the world, and not just for large corporations.

Small to medium businesses now have the ability to sell their goods to consumers all over the world through cross-border eCommerce, and with the barriers to trade continuing to be dismantled, its important for businesses to take advantage of the opportunities available.

Worldwide B2C eCommerce sales are predicted to rise 23.2% in 2017 to over $2.2 trillion [1], this means there are plenty of consumers out there for Australian small to medium enterprises (SME’s) to sell their goods to. The Chinese eCommerce market alone is estimated to be worth around $1.3 trillion and with other sizable markets in Western Europe ($330 billion), North America ($480 billion) and Latin America ($40 billion), SMEs have the opportunity to sell to markets much larger than Australia.

Latin America is an expanding market and with the continual growth of The Pacific Alliance, it’s becoming a key target market for Australian SMEs. The Pacific Alliance is an economic and development initiative between Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia that is aimed at increasing investment in the region, and with the Australian Government currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the Alliance, expect trade with the region to become much more viable for businesses in the future.

The rise of giant internet platforms Amazon and Alibaba has seen opportunities grow for Australian SMEs in both North America and in China. Both of these platforms offer up great opportunities for Australian businesses by allowing ‘third party retailers” to sell their goods on their massively popular websites, giving smaller businesses an opportunity to reach enormous online markets. As well as giving access to larger markets, both Alibaba and Amazon offer warehousing for people wanting to import into America and China. This means that stock can be shipped overseas in bulk, warehoused and then picked, packed and shipped to customers individually from inside each respective country.

Australia Post is also expanding its services to keep up with the demand for cross-border eCommerce. They’ve recently made changes to their range of international delivery services, with improved delivery times as well as improved tracking technology that enables you to track a parcel as it goes through the customs process. Improvements in their supply chain solutions mean that they can now provide warehousing, picking, packing and delivery services overseas and with 340 million delivery points and 180,000 parcel collection locations worldwide, sending parcels to overseas customers has never been easier.

Although gaining access to international markets is easier than ever, it can still be difficult to gain a foothold overseas. One of the keys to international success is identifying and understanding your target market and knowing that they may be culturally different to your target market in Australia. Having a team located locally can go a long way to helping understand the cultural differences you may encounter as well as allowing for greater communication between influencers and advertisers.

Perhaps the most important part of launching a brand or product overseas is long-term strategy. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Blackmores success, through years of planning and research they have established themselves as one of the market leaders in China for vitamins and supplements. If SMEs want the same success overseas they need to ensure that their export strategy is a part of their overall business plan, not supplementary to it.

If you need help launching your brand overseas, get in contact with us today.

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