Amazon is working on expanding its international reach. The e-commerce giant recently unveiled its popular Prime shipping service in Mexico, where shoppers can receive free same- and one-day shipping depending on the specific region for a low first-year $23 subscription fee. And in China, Amazon will give its sellers the option to use its air cargo service to fly products to outside markets.
Amazon’s deepening footprint abroad comes as other retailers grapple with ramping up a cross-border business — selling goods online to out-of-market customers and providing international shipping services — in the first place. Just 14% of e-commerce enabled brands in L2’s recent report on Cross-Border E-Commerce offer international shipping, and among those offering shipping, only one in four deliver products to consumers for free. This gives Amazon, armed with Prime, the high ground in the battle between retailers to win over the out-of-market consumer. Amazon’s prowess abroad is evident by its leading e-commerce market share in non-domestic markets like the UK, Japan, and Germany.
While this domination by Amazon threatens brands seeking their own cross-border footing, there are several tactics that brands can deploy to localize their site content to improve the chances of a cross-border sale.
Brands should focus on giving international shoppers a familiar buying experience by showcasing products in local languages and currencies, something brands like Ralph Lauren and Farfetch do a great job of. Currently, 95% of brands in L2’s study feature their desktop site in a local language, and another 80% display products in a local currency. Despite this relatively high adoption, well-known brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Cartier, and Calvin Klein don’t offer local sites in local currencies.
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