If you’re planning to enter the American market with an online sales strategy, there are things you need to know.
#1: Delivery needs to be free and fast
In April I wrote that 90% of items sold online in the USA ship with free delivery.
The implication is clear. If you’re not offering free delivery for online orders, you’re cutting yourself out of 90% of the market.
But free delivery alone is not enough. In June I wrote that US shoppers are choosing priority delivery in droves.
The bar has risen sharply. In 2009 one-fifth of orders shipped with priority delivery. Now in 2014 fully 70% of online orders are dispatched with expedited delivery service, typically guaranteeing overnight or 2-day delivery.
Can’t offer fast, free delivery with guaranteed delivery dates? Expect shoppers to buy from someone who can.
#2: E-commerce is not about your website any more
It’s a mistake to think about e-commerce in the USA as retailers’ websites battling it out for top spot in a Google search, and a bigger mistake to think that your website is likely to garner you a significant market share.
E-commerce is less and less about individual websites with buy buttons and shopping carts, and more and more about the vast online marketplaces that offer millions of products from vendors big and small. Online marketplaces are dominating e-commerce in the USA.
Unless you’re already a household name in the USA, 95% of shoppers will never buy from your website. In the big markets it’s the online shopping marketplaces that increasingly dominate e-commerce, controlling a bigger and bigger proportion of e-commerce.
One of the keys to success online is manage how your products are represented in the major online marketplaces; how products are described, product imagery, and pricing. Don’t leave it up to a distributor.
#3: Mobile commerce has taken off
Mobile commerce (m-commerce) in the USA accounted for US$42 billion in sales in 2013, growing at 75% per year for the last two years. There’s no escaping the fact that, to realise the full potential of selling online in a big export market such as the USA, you have to be participating in m-commerce.
But what is mobile commerce in 2014? It’s not so much people shopping on websites from a small screen on their phone, as people using the most popular shopping apps on their iPads.
If your product isn’t in the mobile shopping app product catalogues, you can guarantee that those mobile shoppers won’t be buying your product. You’re being cut out of the rapidly-growing mobile commerce segment, whether you realised it or not.
E-commerce with the X-factor
How do you stay ahead of these developments in e-commerce so your products can compete successfully in the USA and other big markets? It takes e-commerce technology specialists. That’s why manufacturers are turning to ExportX to manage online sales in export markets.