insights | 26.06.2019

Why SME eCommerce retailers are well placed for global success

SME Ecom retail success

SME eCommerce retailers are well placed for global success

There is much to commend the idea that now is the best time to consider setting up an eCommerce business. With set-up costs at an all time low and evolving technology helping start ups and SMEs scale up and deliver globally, there’s never been a better time!

There are five key factors that make this situation possible:

Immediate global reach through channel partners

If you’re looking to access a huge global audience quickly, that’s not a problem no matter what the size of your business. Setting up on most channel partners, like eBay and Amazon, is easy and you can be selling with them within a few hours.

It would be worth considering a partnership with leading channel partners in the market you want to operate in as well. Among the many partners available to consider are Cdiscount in France, in Germany, Rakuten in Japan and Alibaba in Asia, though Alibaba are becoming more global.

If you trade in niche products you should also consider marketplaces that sell those products, such as Etsy for handmade, arty type crafts and Bonanza for more unique items.

By spreading your options across a variety of outlets, you increase the convenience and ease of purchase, which in turn increases profit. Plus, by selling your products through other online retailers you don’t become dependent on a single revenue stream, such as your own website.

Reasonable shipping and warehousing costs

Competitive global shipping rates and reasonably priced warehouses to store products have both come together to create a boom in eCommerce.

Many global and local courier services are focussed on quick delivery and, depending on the location of your warehouses, deliver next, or even same day delivery.

Volume is key as far as keeping delivery costs down is concerned. The higher the volume the more competitive are delivery rates that can be negotiated. This means that you’ll need to be able to accurately predict the volume of orders that will be delivered so that you are best placed to negotiate a good price with your choice of courier.

There’s also great competition between warehouses for retailer custom. Use of warehouse space by retailers is up to 60 percent, about a third increase from a decade ago. The only one’s seeing an increase in costs are the urban logistics facilities that offer ‘the last mile’ in the fulfilment process. This is caused by their growing popularity from retailers in locations of restricted space.

The opportunity for outsourcing for retailers who don’t want to manage their own warehousing and fulfilment processes is always there too. Amazon, for example, enables retailers to place their inventory in their fulfilment centre and let Amazon handle the shipping, returns and customer service. Fulfilment by Amazon is also available for products sold directly by your own website, which makes the process really easy.

Content management systems

These days, you don’t need to know how to do any of the coding or styling when you update your website, nor is there any need to rely on a developer to do it either. A content management system like Magento, WordPress or Shopify easily allows you to update your website with new stock items, images and text.

CMS allows the website owner to log in anywhere and enables websites across multiple countries and regions to be updated from one location. This means that it is very simple to keep a site up to date, even if you’re the least tech savvy eCommerce site owner.


In order to be able to do well in overseas markets, you will need to ensure that you’re engaging with your target audience correctly. Making sure that the content is written with the right language, tone of voice and style will help do this.

This isn’t as easy as just translating what’s already on the page from one language to another. Understanding the cultural nuances of the target region is vital in order to be able to adapt your message to your target audience. This is the only way that you can really connect with potential customers and why you should consider using a transcreation service instead of simple translation.

Transcreation is a flourishing industry, so there’s a huge choice available of those who are able to craft a tailored message to your target audience, that not only understands their habits and motivation, but that can really strike a chord with them.

Content delivery networks

It is absolutely essential for an eCommerce site to load quickly and offer fast and efficient functionality and performance.

Those retailers that operate globally can find issues with page speed. The reason for this is that the further away someone is from the server hosting your website, the slower the site will appear as the delay increases. It follows, then, that if someone is accessing your site in Australia and it’s hosted in London, there will be a significant delay in the load time for each page.

This is something that a CDN can solve. They are a network of servers distributed across the globe which cache your static content near the location of your visitors. They ensure that the customer gets fast content from anywhere in the world.

The most popular currently, and the one that we recommend, is CloudFlare which has a global network to route your traffic through. It helps to deliver the best possible performance for your site by automatically optimising the delivery of your webpages.

Before any SME sets out to drive global eCommerce growth, we recommend that they look for a good eCommerce agency with a proven track record in driving worldwide sales. They will help achieve global success by taking advantages of the opportunities available for expansion in 2019 and beyond.

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