11 Oct 2014

Going Global in an Omnichannel World

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A big trend today in retail is the convergence of retailers expanding their business globally while being an omnichannel retailer.

During a meeting at Shop.org, Borderfree chief strategy officer Kris Green told Multichannel Merchant that retailers need to make sure that consumers have the same experience whether they buy in store or online.

“I think now with retailers also going global, those two things come together and you have examples of international retailers like J.Crew who want the global experience, but also want to be omnichannel,” said Green.

Green said it’s not just about letting people buy from the United States anymore. Consumers don’t want to have to pick one channel over another to get the best deal or experience.

“I see a lot of retailers focusing on that as global become part of their business, as omnichannel becomes a big focus, as they have more and more stores around the world,” said Green.

Purchasing a product from a retailer today   is not just about price matching, but also about not having to pay duties and fees online, Green said.

Green said another big trend he is seeing in global ecommerce is that consumers are caring less and less about how an order is fulfilled. This is a notion that transcends borders, he added.

“You don’t necessarily know or care, you just know that it’s coming to you and you know what you’re going to have to pay,” Green said. “I find more and more consumers just want to be able to see the price, have no surprises and be indifferent as to where [the product] is coming from.”

Green said he doesn’t think global consumers will be happy just because they’re able to buy from U.S.-based retailers today. That may have been the case five years ago, he said, when they were largely excluded from buying American and were happy to get products from here at any price.

“That’s no longer the case,” he said. “There’s local competition, and free shipping is becoming the norm around the world. I think lightening up international fulfillment capabilities is a good foundational decision to make, because I don’t think consumers will pay retail shipping rates and be indifferent and happy.”

Green said providing consumers with visibility of duty and shipping rates is not the solution today. Consumers know duty exists, he said, but they don’t understand it, value it or respect it.

“They prefer to just see a price on a web page that’s fair and if they are used to paying taxes in their country as a natural thing then that’s great,” he said. “But shipping should be the only charge that is different than the store because they are paying for the convenience without having to leave their house.”