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What UK Merchants Need To Know About International Consumer Trends

What UK Merchants Need To Know About International Consumer Trends

How UK and US brands are optimising for profitability when choosing ecommerce tech solutions

The ecommerce landscape is always changing, so your strategies as a brand should be too.

With global inflation rates on the rise, consumers are pulling back on discretionary spending: Non-essential spending in the United Kingdom hit an 18-month low in March, with many Brits prioritising saving for day-to-day needs and avoiding impulse buys. That means you’ll have to work harder than ever – and prove your value – to earn their business.

Tapping into the international ecommerce market can unlock a world of potential, with access to customers who may have more spending money available – but before you do, make sure you’ve set your brand up for success by aligning with your customers’ priorities and values. 

For support in guiding your international ecommerce journey, we chatted with Francesca Raggio from our partner agency, Vervaunt, which specialises in supporting ecommerce brands with expansion from the UK to overseas. 

She shared some insights on how their clients are navigating the current landscape to build strong connections with consumers. 

When targeting customers internationally, build a measured approach to customer acquisition.

UK-based merchants may be accustomed to setting up broad targeting approaches for their digital marketing campaigns, but those strategies don’t translate well to the US market, says Raggio. “Overall, it is more expensive to acquire a customer in the US due to the population and market saturation, so the approach to ecommerce has to be much more considered.”

Rather than targeting the entire country at once, it’s important to segment your audiences by regional geography, down to the state or metro level, for both your performance marketing campaigns and your on-site UX. For example, you can adjust messaging tied to local delivery services or local store events. “We see much more investment around these features in the US than the UK,” adds Raggio.

Adapt your marketing and sales strategies to meet changing consumer expectations.

To win over – and hold on to – international customers, it’s important to ensure that you’re providing a customer experience that fits their values and needs.

Some of the key traits that global consumers are looking for in a brand include:

Demonstrating value

Customers are increasingly price-conscious, and they’re keen to ensure that they’re seeing true value in everything they purchase. “This is where compelling loyalty programmes with personalised discounts and sale previews, as well as tangible benefits of becoming part of the brand community, are key,” says Raggio. “Strong storytelling around product benefits and a brand’s unique proposition is important for getting customer buy-in.”

Having a great returns policy also plays to this point—by building an effortless returns workflow that empowers customers to return products for any reason, buyers will have the confidence to explore your brand’s offerings and seek out the products they’ll come back to time and again.

Omnichannel shopping options

Taking an omnichannel approach to retail means that shoppers can choose between online and offline shopping methods – from research, to purchase, to returns. Engaging your shoppers across multiple retail channels can help you build active brand advocates, with omnichannel customers purchasing products 250% more frequently than customers who use a single channel. 

To build a successful omnichannel strategy, “brands need to ensure they have the right infrastructure to support this, as well as capturing data across key touch-points to obtain a single customer view,” says Raggio. “This will enable them to provide seamless experiences online and offline, such as browsing a local store’s collections online with accurate inventory, and the ability to buy or reserve online and pick-up in store.” 

Don’t forget about offering omnichannel options when it comes to returns, too: With Loop’s point of sale feature, you can offer your shoppers the option to return their products in-store, even if they’ve purchased them online. This can help you reduce reverse logistics costs, while guiding the customer to your store for another chance to explore your product offerings.

Personalised brand experiences

To deliver a compelling customer experience, it’s important to both personalise your messaging on an individual level, and deliver engaging experiences that build a lasting connection to your brand. 

Deliver relevant, personalised messaging by collecting first-party data that helps you understand your customers better. For instance, if you know that a customer of your children’s clothing brand has a three-year-old daughter, your brand can send customised apparel offers that continually size up based on the child’s age. If you know that she lives on the East Coast of the US, you can send targeted offers for snow pants during winter, and swimsuits during summer. Delivering offers that meet your customers’ needs will help them stay engaged, and encourage them to shop more frequently.

Tie that in with creating compelling experiences. “Customers are looking for compelling reasons to shop with brands beyond discounted offers, so we’re seeing brands adopt a much more considered approach to loyalty programmes, incorporating interactive content, in-person events and brand community groups or forums,” says Raggio. 

Don’t neglect the importance of developing great returns experiences, either: Many shoppers are frustrated by the experience of trying to repack an item into its original packaging. By providing them with the option to drop off the item to a nearby returns bar without the hassle of re-boxing, you’ll give them a seamless returns experience that leaves them with a positive impression of your brand.

Embracing sustainability

The rising generation of consumers is committed to reducing their waste—and they’re seeking out brands that share the same ethics. In fact, Gen Z and Millennial customers are 27% more likely to purchase from brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability than older customers are. 

To win over these eco-conscious consumers, it’s important to prioritise and promote your use of renewable and recyclable materials throughout your supply chain – including manufacturing, shipping, and even returns. Using Loop, you can set up sustainability-focused workflows to divert returned products from landfills, with options for shipping them to recycling plants, donation facilities, and resellers, or even encouraging the customer to pass along the product to a friend. 

By prioritising sustainability throughout your entire product lifecycle, you’ll be able to lower your brand’s carbon footprint and build consumer trust at the same time. 

Scale your growth strategy sustainably

When it comes to expanding into new areas, Raggio says, it’s important to take a thoughtful and strategic approach to growth. “Research the demand and appetite within international markets and take a phased approach, rather than taking on all global territories at once. Prioritising markets where there has been high sales growth and capitalising on that opportunity, testing, iterating and honing in on what works, before moving onto the next has worked well for our successful international clients.”

Make sure that you’ve customized your site and messaging to adapt to each new market: “Ensuring end-to-end hyper-localisation across a brand’s site, from content to sizing information, shopping currency, payments and delivery is important to ensuring the customer experience is as native as possible,” says Raggio.

It’s also important to choose technology partners that will support you in your international expansion, with the ability to integrate seamlessly with other solutions in your tech stack. For instance, Loop integrates with ecommerce solutions including Klaviyo, Gorgias, and a wide network of 3PLs and carriers to ensure a seamless end-to-end post-purchase experience. Choosing technology partners that play well with others empowers your brand to create custom workflows across multiple apps and integrate your data for a unified view, facilitating a smooth growth trajectory for your international expansion.

Ready to scale your international ecommerce strategy with a best-in-class returns solution?

The post What UK merchants need to know about international consumer trends appeared first on Loop Returns.

This article originally appeared on Loopreturns and is available here for further discovery.
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