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Marketplaces as a route to accelerate international expansion

International expansion is currently on the mind of all retailers, no matter the size. Whether you are still in the early stages of planning your international strategy or you are already flying high in markets throughout the world, online marketplaces are key platforms to strengthen your cross-border proposition.

Today we talk to Gergana Nacheva, head of acquisition at global service provider Pentagon, who will discuss some of the reasons why retailers cannot afford to overlook the opportunity of global marketplaces.

Essential Retail (ER): Many retailers will question why they should consider adding marketplaces to their already existing retail channels. What would you say to them?

Gergana Nacheva (GN): Online marketplaces are too big to ignore. Already in markets such as Poland and Australia more than 40% of all eCommerce transactions take place on marketplaces, and in China that figure increases to almost 90%.

They benefit from huge in country traffic and tend to rank in the top ten most visited sites, alongside Google and Facebook. Retailers selling on marketplaces can capitalise on this traffic and increase their brand awareness and customer base without a big marketing budget.

ER: How can global marketplaces help retailers accelerate their international expansion?    

GN: Marketplaces provide speed to market, are trusted by local consumers and are a fantastic way to soft launch a brand into new territories. Retailers will find that the products that sell best in Germany, for example, are not the products that sell best in Southeast Asia. So, by testing the waters on marketplaces first, retailers have a much better understanding of what the local customer wants.

Marketplaces are localised platforms that consumers are used to purchasing from and have a lot of local knowledge. Retailers can tap into this knowledge and receive guidance on how to approach different territories, what to expect, and how to build up a reputation with local customers. This local knowledge is invaluable to international success.

ER: Marketplaces are sometimes seen as a discount outlet and retailers worry that selling on these channels could cause brand damage. Is this the case?

GN: Not at all! Full-price items work just as well as discounted items. In fact many of our clients need to maintain price parity across all their retail channels so marketplaces are simply seen as an additional channel.

It is about understanding what sells on these platforms and where the opportunity is. If you are selling internationally, you can take advantage of seasonality and sell your previous collections at full price - perfect for fashion retailers that want to clear last season’s stock!

The majority of marketplaces focus on the product and the brand, so they offer retailers flexibility on how they present themselves. Retailers can replicate the look and feel of their website on marketplaces, so that the customer receive a consistent brand experience across all channels.

ER: How difficult is it to sell on international marketplaces and is there an easy solution?

GN: Every marketplace is different and there are a lot of things to consider when launching a new channel, so selling on marketplaces can be both knowledge and labour intensive.

To make the most out of these channels and turn them into a sustainable, profitable sources of revenue, retailers need a team to support the different aspects of selling on a marketplace, including language support, technology integration, logistic solutions, VAT & legal requirements and a returns solution.

At Pentagon, we provide a full complement of services to accelerate the launch of your brand on multiple international marketplaces. We are experts in the field and can provide the knowledge, resources and time to set you up for success, in a quick, efficient and low-risk way.

ER: Which are the key territories that retailers should be selling into within the next five years?

GN: The world is getting smaller and consumers all around the world want to get their hands on the best products, particularly British brands, so sell in as many territories as possible.

If you want to focus on specific areas, then topmiddle class consuming countries in the next ten to 15 years will be India, China, USA, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and France.

ER: Your global marketplace event Fashion Without Borders is taking place on Wednesday 23rd March. What makes this event different to other eCommerce events?

GN: Fashion Without Borders purely focuses on marketplaces. There are a lot of eCommerce events that discuss a broad range of issues surrounding eCommerce and international expansions, but our event provides in depth information and practical advice on how to sell on marketplaces successfully around the world.

We have 14 global marketplace speakers, who will not only discuss the opportunities for growth in their region, but will be around throughout the day to answer questions and provide further insight into their market.

We also have speakers from partner companies, who all work closely with marketplaces and Pentagon to support growth on these channels.

ER: So how can retailers register to attend Fashion Without Borders?

GN: Retailers can book their ticket for Fashion Without Borders by visiting our event website: http://www.wearepentagon.com/fashionwithoutborders/. Be quick, the event has almost sold out!

If you have any questions about Fashion Without Borders you can get in touch with our marketing manager by emailing: jenni.day@pentagon-interactive.co.uk

To secure your place at Fashion Without Borders this spring, book your ticket here. If you would like to find out more about Fashion Without Borders or are interested in sponsoring the event, please get in touch with Jenni Day on: +44 (0)7946 605992 or email: jenni.day@pentagon-interactive.co.uk

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Pentagon Interactive