By Jim Tompkins
CEO, Tompkins International
Global headlines anticipating growth through globalization are plentiful. Three different positions on achieving growth all point to cross-border e-commerce from a brand, company, and country perspective:
- Williams-Sonoma and Zara head to Mexico
- US brands targeting global growth
- European luxury brands focused on growth in the US
- Apple and Calvin Klein launch in China
- eBay expands in Russia
- Rakuten seeks foothold in the US
- Alibaba to expand global footprint
- Amazon to penetrate emerging markets
- Mall for Africa helps retailers reach Africans who are thirsty for Western goods
- Key e-commerce emerging markets include: Malaysia, UAE, Thailand, Chile, Peru, Columbia, and South Africa
- E-commerce focus in North America, UK, Germany, Japan, China, India, and Brazil is intense
- Canadian online shoppers increasingly buying from US
It is clear that the options are plentiful, but it is also obvious that the challenges are great and headlines of global challenges are abundant. For example:
- "Target Canada liquidation sales get green light"
- "Best Buy makes final retreat from China"
- "Kingfisher Bows from China"
- "Carrefour may consider China exit"
So, this is a huge problem as western brands and retailers need growth and, for the most part, do not see this growth coming from the US or Europe. Globalization looks attractive but it is a long shot from a walk in the park. Being a global supply chain company for over 25 years, Tompkins International has had the benefit of watching the evolution of the global marketplace from the very beginning. We have helped many companies achieve tremendous success on the global stage. We now have many companies coming to us asking for the "magic recipe for achieving growth through globalism." Let me be real clear: THERE IS NO MAGIC RECIPE. However, to not leave you in the dark, here are our 7 guidelines to achieving growth through globalization:
- AMAZON GUIDELINE: Do not pursue a growth strategy that duplicates something Amazon is already doing well.
- ALIBABA GUIDELINE: Do not pursue a growth strategy until you really understand marketplaces and your marketplace path forward.
- WALMART GUIDELINE: Do not pursue a growth strategy until you really understand omnichannel retail and your omnichannel path forward.
- COMPETITION GUIDELINE: Do not pursue a growth strategy until you really understand your competition and your unique value proposition.
- CULTURAL GUIDELINE: Do not pursue a growth strategy until you really understand your target customer and their expectations on Price, Selection, Convenience and Experience.
- STRATEGY GUIDELINE: Strategy must always come before structure. The Strategy must come before the growth of your business. Do not shortcut Strategy. (Link to our Strategy before structure White Paper)
- EXPERIENCE GUIDELINE: Do not pursue a growth strategy without expert assistance. Your growth strategy is far too important to pursue without assistance from experts with relevant prior experience.
The global marketplace is full of challenges. Following the guidelines presented above will increase your abilities and capabilities to be successful.