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Integrating into Global Markets

Many e-commerce businesses selling to international audiences have recognized the need for country-specific websites that are based on products, customs, languages, and cultural influences. In many cases, countries will have unique retail shopping experiences that are part of the makeup of the people in that country. These considerations need to be factored into website design and development. As a rule, one global e-commerce website does not fit all.

While some consumer online shopping trends are global, it is good practice not to rely on those trends but to heavily consider each country's specific insights. For example, although mostly men purchase online worldwide, in the U.S. more women are shopping and purchasing online. This has changed over the past few years and demands a demographic refresher for many U.S. e-commerce websites designed in the years when men were the dominant online shoppers. While this trend is true for the U.S., other countries may not yet be ready for women-focused shopping websites. In new business channels, there will be early evolutionary behavioral changes until the model becomes more mature and becomes integrated into the culture.

A country's economic environment and culture affect online shopping adoption cycles. Each culture and each industry fosters different adoption cycles. Technology's early adopters, for instance, were predominantly male. In some countries, students lead Internet adoption. Determining the adoption cycle for each environment must precede Internet design.

Similarly, global issues such as currency conversion, taxation, and privacy laws need to be researched before launching a website. Internet-related laws and regulations, as well as commerce in general, tend to change rapidly.

Specific country trends in online shopping, products, and demographics of the target customers must be monitored to ensure the website design keeps up with changes in the country and in the marketplace.

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