Global e-commerce : the ultimate recipe for disaster

Global e-commerce: the ultimate recipe for disaster

During a family luncheon, I saw clearly what the generation gap means.

During a family luncheon, I saw clearly what the generation gap means. The children and cousins sat all at the table and communicated with their Smartphone. If I didn’t put my foot down, nobody would talk to each other, instead they just texted and used apps together.

As always, business luncheons with clients are all about the opportunities to find new clients and therefor new sales channels. In that context, the possibilities of online business activities over the Internet as a new sales channel are increasingly of interest. Even conventional distributors and store chains barely manage without a second area of activity in e-commerce.

Moreover, e-commerce as growth driver comes in real handy to many companies as the ideal sales channel for the alleged Going Global, that is when it comes down to showing international growth and presence.  However, what first seems to appear real simple, reveals itself at second glance to be a complex challenge and not only logistically. And leads in my opinion straight to disaster.

So caution is advised: The “one for all Homepage” serving the Going Global intention will not nearly take into account the cultural differences, the respective purchase and payment habits and the legal and tax requirements. The initial enthusiasm due to impressive increases in growth hides only too easily the obvious flaws. At the end of the day, the client remains the same. He just makes his decision to purchase the product at the computer instead of seeing it on the spot, and hopes blatantly for better prices. Furthermore are the times when start-ups could earn millions for an „Internet solution” definitely over.

Already within national borders, regional markets and languages show substantial differences (for example Belgium and Spain). Just the subjective perception of what a product should cost is determined by very diverse cultural preferences. Something that has not changed, even in times of e-commerce. The costs related to the adaptation to local circumstances, as well as the constantly necessary updates are costly, time-consuming and unavoidable. Unavoidable is also in my view the selection of words: what we need is glocal e-commerce, based on local requirements. As said: the client remains the same, someone who would like to be served according to his local requirements and desires.

And in these cases too, the truly international companies have already adjusted to glocal e-commerce. For instance, the Internet Homepage from Reebok in India looks completely different from the one for the North-American market.

Ultimately, every business remains glocal: as global as possible and as local as necessary.

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