The era of information technology, along with globalization and internet access, has opened up possibilities and opportunities for everyone around the globe. Consumer demands, purchasing behavior and perception towards e-commerce have also transformed conventional brick-and-mortar service expectations beyond just a physical presence. When goods and services are not immediately obtainable, or when consumer demands are not fulfilled — in terms of availability, price, quality or, perhaps, prestige — more people are turning to global markets.
Of course, flying to the country of origin just to get a certain product isn’t cost efficient, unless you intend to do so as part of your current travel plans. But you still might need to bring extra baggage.
This is where cross-border advertising comes in: Click-click (placing orders and making payments online by consumers) to knock-knock (items delivered to doorsteps by suppliers) – even when the buyer and seller are in different countries.
Geographical factors are no longer boundaries in demand-supply chain. According to Paypal, payment security is not the leading hindrance to overseas e-commerce when it’s easy and safe to make a payment that promotes even more online activities. A study by Pitney Bowes states that the US has a relatively matured e-commerce market and online retailers cover up to 70% market share globally for online purchasing. The most visited online stores are Amazon, Apple Inc. and Wal-Mart in the US; T-Mall and Taobao are popular in China.
Cross-border advertising not only boosts sales abroad for retailers, local and international postal and logistics companies also benefit from this market situation. Research by DHL found that US buyers make cross-border online purchases because of the inability to find desired products domestically. Cross-border buyers’ future intentions also seem positive, with Great Britain (70.9%), Canada (69.8%), Japan (46.0%), and China (48.1%) in the lead. China leads in cross-border sales according to PayPal’s survey.The most-cited reason in this survey for buying from a foreign e-commerce site was to save money and find goods not available locally.
The US is still the most popular location for shopping, among other countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia, The Netherlands, South Korea, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan, UK and Sweden. Demand for premium and luxury goods online are also growing from year to year in various countries. The most sought-after items are usually cosmetics and skin care products, makeup, apparel, perfume, toys, health supplements and milk powder.
For business enterprises, tapping into potential foreign target markets and increasing exports are made possible by driving traffic through search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines commonly used worldwide — including Bing, Google, Yahoo, MSN, LiveSearch, and Baidu in China — offer massive amounts of information and accessibility to tons of resources for e-purchases.
Increasing overseas purchasing habits among consumers are driven by exposure to competitive products abroad. Search results can be conveniently narrowed down by sources of origin and deliverables just by inserting keywords. PayPal suggests that by 2018 up to 130 million online shoppers will buy $307 billion worth of merchandise online. In China, growth will also likely continue as the Chinese government promotes cross-border e-commerce.
Established platforms like Amazon or Alibaba are seen as trustworthy for both e-retailers and end users. Eventually, click-click to knock-knock will evolve from being a choice to a necessity or habit for consumers. It’s all part of the obsession with technological convenience that can be seen across many different industries, such as apps for transportation (Uber, DidiDache), apps for best restaurants in town (Dianping in China) and apps that offer the best route to avoid traffic jams (Waze in Malaysia). And why not? It’s so convenient now that we have access to the internet on our smart phones and can skip all the hassle!