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Smart Use Of Digital Channels Can Boost Exports

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 9/4/2012

Company plans to grow exports should include a strong focus on digital strategies and a sensitivity to the unique attributes of each export market.

It's hard enough for many marketers to segment and target their domestic customers and make connections with them online.

Digital Strategies for Export Growth and Global Expansion

A company's plan to grow its export markets expands the challenge considerably, as marketers must determine how to establish connections with diverse foreign audiences.

While there are some common best practices for leveraging digital channels to grow exports, new research confirms that companies must recognize the nuances of each foreign market and that each market must be approached with a unique digital strategy that reflects local characteristics and online shopping preferences.

Acquity Group LLC (NYSE MKT: AQ), a leading digital marketing company, recently conducted a Global Usability Study that surveyed American and Chinese consumers on their website usability preferences. The findings indicate that "consumers in the Chinese and U.S. markets have distinct tastes when it comes to interacting with digital channels, suggesting that marketers will need to explore new ways to merchandise a site and display product information when moving their brands into foreign markets."

Importantly, each foreign market is at a unique evolutionary stage in terms of online shopping adoption, and this is something that marketers must take into account. For example, in Russia, e-commerce sales account for just 2% of total retail sales, compared to over 10% in other countries. In some countries, access to Internet connectivity and email remains limited, hindering the growth of e-commerce.

The bottomline for executives is that the decision to expand globally via the Web cannot be taken lightly. Foreign markets must be prioritized and each target country requires a unique strategy. Firms that apply a one-size-fits-all strategy are not likely to achieve their full potential in tapping export markets.

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