International expansion is now easier than ever with the growth of online commerce and as a result of the pandemic. Businesses that have not been brave enough or have not thought of taking advantage of new markets and revenue can now develop and roll out their international growth strategy more efficiently than ever before.
Businesses can easily sell across borders and reach shoppers around the world without going through the elaborate process of a market expansion. And with a wealth of information and technology at their fingertips, consumers can easily purchase products anytime, anywhere… everywhere.
Cross-border commerce is fast-growing. In fact:
- In the US, the cross-border B2C market is expected to reach $4.8 billion by 20261
- In Europe, cross-border accounts for 23.55%2 of total online sales
- 53%3 of interregional cross-border flows came from China
- Cross-border shopping will make up 17% of e-commerce in 2023, with sales of US$736 billion globally3
- Cross-border exports from the Asia Pacific grew by 28%4
It also offers a host of benefits. By selling globally, businesses can:
- Extend their market reach
- Boost their competitive value
- Develop more revenue streams
However, selling across the world is not without challenges. For one, payment logistics alone can be a nightmare when thinking about a specific region's local currencies. Add to it the shipping needs, returns, and other requirements; these challenges can appear insurmountable.
But these challenges can be solved by a company’s ability to scale.
Preparing to scale with PIM
Scalability has become more and more relevant in recent years as technology made it easier for businesses to expand markets globally and access more customers. A company must have a solid scaling strategy and the right solution to integrate the essential components into the business.
A Product Information Management (PIM) solution helps lay down the foundation for an e-commerce business. It allows businesses to easily and quickly onboard, validate, manage, localize and publish the product information needed to market and sell across multiple sales channels successfully. As the solution takes care of the e-commerce business, scaling becomes less complicated.
Here are 4 essential PIM components for scalability:
1. Translation and localization
A study found that 75%5 of people in non-English speaking countries prefer to shop in their native language. Translation and localization are the keys to attract and engage new customers. Companies must optimize product content to make it relevant to customers in each target region.However, translating product content is just a part of the extensive localization process. Companies must strive to provide an end-to-end multilingual customer experience to attract their global shoppers. It takes a lot of effort; it is time-consuming and needs a whole lot of collaboration to translate an entire experience.
Overcoming translation challenges with PIM
Companies may have an internal team that does translations themselves or choose to employ local or remote agencies to perform translations. But no matter who is doing the translations, with volumes of content to translate, and without the right tool, several issues may still come up, such as duplicated, missing, or inaccurate information. A PIM solution equipped with localization features can help alleviate these challenges. Product data can be localized for multiple languages and channels while reducing unnecessary repeat translations and associated costs by focusing on relevant attributes only once. It becomes easier for companies to manage translations through automated identification of the content that requires initial translation or correction.
2. Data quality
Consistent, accurate, and relevant information is always a must for an e-commerce business. Consumers can be unforgiving and will easily abandon a purchase and a brand if they see something inconsistent in product content.
Ensuring data quality with PIM
Keeping product content clean requires strict data quality handling. A robust PIM solution capable of measuring the accuracy, completeness, conformity, and uniqueness of product data helps minimize the risk of publishing and distributing inconsistent and poor product information. Having quality data monitoring ensures that whatever data is shared to whatever channel or region makes it easier to expand to new markets.
3. Digital Asset Management (DAM)
No matter where the consumer is shopping from, universally, they rely on product images to check if a product is right for them. Digital assets must be vibrant and engaging to tell a story and compel a consumer to close a purchase. It must also be consistent across all sales channels and platforms. Managing digital assets from disparate systems results in the opposite. The lack of fully functional digital asset management hinders digital assets' production on time, impacting consumer experiences and product launches.
Organizing digital assets with DAM
A DAM solution brings order to the messy process of managing digital assets across the company. It makes it easy to store, organize, consolidate, enrich and share volumes of digital assets such as images, videos, manuals, and other documents. A DAM:
- Simplifies the process of managing digital assets in varying formats and stages
- Reduces manual searches and eliminates duplicates
- Associates digital assets with the correct product information, automatically
- Distributes digital assets in channels specific formats
- Promotes strict compliance to licensing regulations and standards
4. Multichannel publication and syndication
Even before expanding to new markets, growing companies are expected to distribute and share product content to internal teams, their partner network, and other channels and even marketplaces.
It is then extremely important to share product information seamlessly and consistently across all digital channels, business systems, and customer-facing applications regardless of format, language or currency.
Sharing and distributing product content via integration
A PIM solution can syndicate and publish rich, complete, and accurate product information to multiple sales channels like e-commerce sites and marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, etc. This is made more potent by out-of-the-box connectors that allow the integration of PIM to:
- E-commerce sites like Magento, BigCommerce, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud
- Marketplaces like Google MFC and Amazon Seller Central
- Syndication platforms such as Productsup and Plentymarkets
Product content can be shared and syndicated without the need for unnecessary distribution tools. Internal business units, suppliers, trading partners, data pools, and customers can access the most recent, accurate, and complete product information available.