Results from a new study commissioned by FedEx (FDX) and conducted by Forrester Consulting on the priorities and preferences of global online shoppers, indicate how truly global online shopping has become. In an effort to better understand global purchasing behavior in cross-border e-commerce, researchers questioned over 9000 respondents in 17 countries and territories, as well as conducted interviews with small-and-medium businesses with cross-border operations.
With online buying behavior currently representing over $1 trillion in sales per year and forecasted to nearly double in the next four years according to Forrester Research data, the findings of the paper, “Seizing The Cross-Border Opportunity,”* are revealing. Clothing and apparel are the most popular online purchase, along with books, electronics and cosmetics. The study also found a significant part of ecommerce shopping globally involves cross-border shipments.
“This research provides deep insight into the priorities and preferences of global online customers and highlights how small and mid-sized retailers can better take advantage of the cross-border opportunity,” said Raj Subramaniam, executive vice president, Global Marketing, FedEx. ”Knowledge about both the cultural similarities and differences in geographic markets can help businesses gain real online retail advantage.”
GLOBAL CROSS-BORDER RESULTS:
82% of global respondents report making an online purchase from a merchant outside their home country. These rates vary minimally across regions from a high of 90% of Canadians reporting purchasing cross-border compared to a low of 59% of Japanese. On average, these customers reported spending about $300 on cross-border items a year.
Primary online shopping destinations are the US, China and the UK. While shoppers indicated purchasing cross-border from all 17 international markets included in the study, the US, China and the UK were the top 3 exporters of online purchases. 91% of Canadians who responded reported making their cross-borderpurchases from the US, with Latin American shoppers sourcing from the US as well, including 68% of Brazilians who responded. Europeans have a tendency to order within the EU, although UK businesses ship primarily to the US and Australia. Shoppers in Japan and Korea stated they purchase more frequently from the US than they do from their APAC neighbors.
Cross-border shoppers prefer to purchase from well-known major multi-brand retailers and global online marketplaces. In fact, the majority of respondents in every country surveyed ranked major multi-brand online retailers or marketplaces as their first choice out of five business types for cross-border purchases. The findings indicate an effective way for SME retailers to enter the global arena is through online marketplaces.
Duties and taxes curb cross-border activity. While shipping cost and delivery time are top of mind with shoppers, over a third of global respondents cited high duties/taxes as a concern for cross-border shopping. The impact of duties and taxes was even more pronounced when researchers explored creating a standard duty free threshold. If all online purchases under $200 USD (localized) were duty free, 56% of global respondents would increase their cross-border shopping. Regionally, the hypothetical limit had the greatest impact on Latin American shoppers, with 80% of those respondents predicting an increase in their cross-border shopping. At the country level, 71% of respondents in India and 80% respondents in China indicated the same.
“The results of this study on global trends suggests that streamlining regulations by harmonizing duty free limits across the globe could result in a significant uptick in cross-border trade, benefitting consumers and businesses around the world,” said David Cunningham, chief operating officer & president, international, FedEx Express.
U.S. AND OTHER RESULTS
The online survey offers a glimpse into American’s cross-border shopping habits, as well. Results show that 67% of US respondents indicated they buy items online at least once a month and a little over 30% say they make online purchases of goods from merchants outside their country at least every few months.
What all this means for the small and mid-size businesses is they also have an opportunity to take advantage of regional differences. Most Americans in the survey look to international SME retailers for specialty and unique items, in fact 51% of Americans vs 34% of global respondents cited it was the availability of ‘specialty/hard to find items’ as a reason for shopping cross-border.
Americans also indicated a greater interest in international cross-border shopping where the experience provided simple exchanges, guaranteed costs at check-out including duties and taxes, and free returns.
In a world of globalized shopping, cross-border ecommerce appears destined to grow exponentially, benefitting small and mid-size businesses and consumers with exciting and expanding opportunities. Whether the customers find retailers through word of mouth, search engines, or ads, the best results will no doubt come from having a reliable logistics provider with global network expertise that excels in helping online businesses go global from Day One.
* “Seizing The Cross-Border Opportunity,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of FedEx, December 2014
To read: www.fedex.com/ecommerce
** commissioned survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of FedEx, August 2014
About the research study
Forrester Consulting conducted an online survey in September 2014 of 9,006 global online consumers and interviewed 34 small and medium size businesses with international e-commerce operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, the UK, and the US to evaluate the current attitudes toward and experiences with cross-border shopping and order fulfilment, including the challenges and concerns faced by both groups in expanding these practices. Consumer survey participants included those aged 18 or older who have ordered a physical item shipped to themselves or another recipient over the internet within the past 12 months. Small and medium-size business interviewees were asked about the factors leading to their decisions to start an international e-commerce business, their experiences and challenges with fulfilling such orders, and the factors that may enable them to expand this practice. The study took place between July and September 2014.
E-commerce is going mobile: 20% of younger Canadians have made purchases from mobile devices according to the 2015 .CA Factbook
Many Canadian small businesses still lack an online presence
The 2015 .CA Factbook, an annual report on the state of the Canadian Internet, points to deepening mobile engagement among Canadians, a declining interest in cable subscriptions and new opportunities for Canadian e-commerce.
Key findings from the report
Canadian businesses must seize e-commerce opportunities now
The Canadian e-commerce sector continues to grow. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian enterprises sold more than$136 billion in goods and services over the Internet in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier.
Mobile devices are taking a more central role in e-commerce. According to .CA’s tracking research, 20 per cent of Canadians ages 18-34 have made a purchase from a mobile device.
Canadians who are buying online report spending more on transactions through Canadian websites than they do on international ones. Selling to Canadians through Canadian websites, therefore, may be an effective sales strategy
A strong web presence affects retailers looking to drive sales in-store; many Canadians report browsing online for goods they will eventually purchase in-store.
Additional report findings
New sources of online video have turnedCanada into a country of cord-cutters: 39 per cent of Canadians without a cable subscription point to the availability of online video as a factor in their decision not to subscribe. Of those with cable subscriptions, 30 per cent of survey respondents are considering canceling their cable subscriptions.
Canadians have embraced the mobile revolution and are deepening their engagement on mobile devices: How Canadians use mobile devices is shifting. There was a 46 per cent growth in photo and video sharing (likely due to the popularity of Instagram, snapchat, vine and similar apps.) Mobile viewing of sports content and use of maps and directions applications increased by almost 40 per cent.
Dimension Data’s 2015 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report Reveals Industry Still Playing Catch Up To Digital Demand
Increasingly mobile customers are forcing organizations to adapt their digital engagement models or lose relevance
Dimension Data, the $6.7 billion (USD) global ICT services and solutions provider, announced the results of its 2015 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report that shows despite the continued explosive growth of digital contact – in the form of email, Web chat, social media, and self-service channels – as a popular customer engagement method, organizations are unable to keep pace with the digital demand. Moreover, with a wealth of knowledge available within their contact centers from customer interactions and customer preference data, the jury’s out on what organizations are doing to exploit this information.
The 2015 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report surveyed 901 participants covering 12 industries in 72 countries across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Australia, Middle East & Africa, and Europe. Key findings from the survey include:
If the digital evolution continues at its current pace, contact centers will see digital overtake voice-based contact within two years.
Analytics is seen by a majority of contact centers as the most likely factor to change the shape of the industry over the next five years, but 40 percent of contact centers have no data analysis tools.
A majority of organizations (83 percent) believe their current IT systems won’t meet future needs, and some (33 percent) said that IT doesn’t meet their current needs.
Customers have gone digital
Non-voice traffic (digital) is set to rise in 89 percent of contact centers within the next two years, and voice traffic (talking to a customer center agent on the telephone) will drop in 35 percent of contact centers during the same period. Based on the information Dimension Data has gathered over the last 10 years, digital will overtake voice in the contact center within two years because the new generation of tech-savvy consumers entering the market – mostly Generation Y – use the phone only as a last resort for queries that couldn’t be solved in any other way. Additionally, customers younger than 40 would much rather use social media and Web chat than any other way of achieving their desired service outcomes.
As contact centers reinvent themselves, customers can anticipate common access to seven different digital channels, in addition to the telephone. The capability for smart device applications will grow to 55 percent; Web chat will almost double to 69 percent, and social media presence is already at 39 percent.
It’s important to note, however, that the telephone channel is in no way obsolete. The reality is that the skills required from agents are growing along with the broadening scope of service coverage. Agent support of phone and assisted-service digital channels has become far more complex and critical, and the new demands will lead to 82 percent of contact centers maintaining (30 percent), or growing (52 percent), their current employee numbers.
Analytics can be the game changer
Despite data analytics being voted the top factor to change the shape of the industry within the next five years, more than a third (40 percent) of contact centers have no data analysis tools. In addition, more than half (51 percent) of the participants said their contact centers don’t share customer intelligence gathered with the rest of the business, and 58 percent of core analytic systems aren’t integrated across the organization.
Another challenge for organizations is determining not just what works for the consumer, but also the impact that each new interaction channel may have on the business, and the positive and negative consequences. Ultimately, the goal should be to create genuine business value through improved customer experiences, and by optimizing engagement models to deliver the most value at the least cost. Analytics holds the key.
A widening technology gap
Customers want an easy and immediate journey on channels of their choice, and organizations are in need of a digital customer engagement model. But the industry is massively unprepared.
An average of 33 percent of North American organizations don’t believe their ICT systems meet their current needs, and 83 percent say that their technology won’t meet future needs. Add omnichannel to the mix, and the situation could get worse.
This is forcing vendors and consumers alike to explore new buying options and causing vendors to design innovative technology frameworks. The good news is that a new form of hybrid technology models, in which legacy systems work alongside cloud-based solutions, are providing alternative answers and some compelling results.
These systems are much quicker to deploy, so the return on investment for new technologies will be achieved faster. More than 93 percent of current users agree that cloud has reduced their costs, plus 88 percent confirm that cloud offers them access to new functionalities.
“Systems in the contact center have fallen short of expectations year-on-year over the last four to five years,” said Scott Cruikshank, director, communications, Dimension Data. “Organizations will need to refresh, change and adapt to the emerging digital revolution. The combination of technology that is creating an omnichannel environment, coupled with the ability to analyze and act in real-time, and personalize customer service, provides powerful resources for organizations to create a productive, digital customer engagement model.”
For more on the trends and challenges impacting the contact center industry, please visit the Benchmarking microsite.
About the Dimension Data Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report Now in its 18th year of production, the Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report is widely acknowledged to be the most useful, authoritative and comprehensive report of its kind. The report, which comprises 400 datapoints and over 90 charts, provides managers with insights into the emerging challenges that affect contact centers a set of best practice standards, business impacts and benchmark recommendations, on resourcing and training, performance metrics, technology solutions, multichannel capability and development plans. The report is researched and published by Dimension Data and incorporates use of an online benchmark comparison portal. The Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report is supported over 30 of the world’s leading industry groups and associations. www.dimensiondata.com/ccbenchmarking
Epsilon Named A Leader In Email Marketing Driven by Client Satisfaction and Omnichannel Capabilities
Epsilon, the global leader in creating connections between people and brands, announced it has achieved the leader’s ring in The Relevancy Group’s, The Relevancy Ring – ESP Buyer’s Guide 2015, a quantifiable measurement of ESPs and Email Infrastructure vendors. In this evaluation, The Relevancy Group revealed, “for marketers looking for a global enterprise solution that delivers highly personalized complex email and omnichannel campaigns using data from multiple sources, Epsilon’s latest version of Agility Harmony™ is one to review.”
The Relevancy Ring Vendor Success metric is measured by five attributes including: Client Satisfaction, Inbox Placement, Service Capabilities, Functionality and Innovation. In this evaluation, Epsilon received top scores in Service Capabilities, Inbox Rate and Client Satisfaction. Epsilon gained high marks for companies looking for a full-service partner and the report cites that Agility Harmony™ clients also benefit from Epsilon’s database marketing and loyalty solutions, explaining they “are ideal for enterprise marketers seeking a scalable omnichannel solution.” The report also shares that, “clients praised Epsilon’s ability to leverage email and connect customer experiences beyond email.”
Epsilon received Gold and Silver Relevancy Ring Client Satisfaction Awards in 10 out of 11 categories with a Gold distinction in: Account Management, Strategic Services, Technical Services, Production Services, Integration and Omnichannel Marketing Capabilities, led by the 21st century technology behind Agility Harmony™, which optimizes big data opportunities.
“We’re thrilled to once again be named a leader in this space,” said Andy Frawley, Chief Executive Officer of Epsilon. “We built Agility Harmony from the ground up to be omnichannel and help brands reach consumers with highly personalized, data-driven communications. We are honored to be recognized by The Relevancy Group for our commitment to helping our clients achieve success engaging with customers across channels in a seamless manner.”
“Harmony provides marketers with the freedom and flexibility to use any type of data as they choose, through Epsilon’s robust APIs and polyglot persistence database,” shared David Daniels, CEO of The Relevancy Group. “Agility Harmony clients will also benefit from Epsilon’s service-led culture, as well as their ancillary solutions.”
INTERBRAND CANADA LAUNCHES NEW BRAND INSIGHTS GROUP TO HELP CLIENTS REDUCE RISK IN DECISION MAKING
Mark Rose returns to deliver Canada’s most advanced brand analytics services
Interbrand today announced the creation of its Brand Insights group in Canada, which integrates research, analytics, and creativity to help clients make moreinformed brand and business decisions.
Returning to lead this new practice group is Mark Rose. Rose began his career in the global brand valuation group at Interbrand London and then led brand valuation at Interbrand Canada. In his new role, Rose will lead a team that will help clients inform and optimize decisions in areas such as brand strategy development, M&A challenges, brand extension opportunity evaluation, brand architecture questions and creative/identity development. He has diverse industry experience helping brands optimize decisions, with organizations such as Barclays, BASF, FRHI, LEGO, Sage, and UPS.
“Far too often, brands take unnecessary risks by validating a strategy after it has been implemented, rather than at the outset of the decision-making process,” said Rose. “Our goal is to help Canadian brands make sound business decisions by providing a fact-based foundation to guide investment and strategic direction. This not only manages uncertainty but also ensures that we maximize the potential of brands.”
The Brand Insights group includes the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of best-in-class research methods, action-oriented brand health monitoring, and business case/ROI tools. For a complete list visit http://interbrand.com/en/services/.
“I’m thrilled that Mark has chosen to return to Interbrand to bring new services that transform strategic intent into financial impact,” said Carolyn Ray, Managing Director, Interbrand Canada. “As the only global brand consultancy in Canada, Interbrand is the only firm that can offer this breadth of services in-house, and help our Canadian clients make smarter and more efficient decisions about where to invest and win, instead of taking unnecessary risk.”
GfK asked mobile phone users in 23 countries what activities they regularly do on their mobile phones while they are inside a store. The leading behaviors are comparing prices and contacting a friend or family member for advice (at 40 percent each), followed by taking pictures of products that they might buy (at 36 percent).
Half of global shoppers, aged 20-29, compare prices online, while inside a store
Globally, men outweigh women on using their mobile phone inside a store to compare prices on a regular basis, standing at 42 percent and 37 percent respectively. The most active age group is shoppers aged 20-29, with nearly half (49 percent) saying they regularly do this, followed by those aged 15-19 and 30-39, both at 45 percent.
Adrian Hobbs, Managing Director of Online Pricing Intelligence at GfK, comments, “With significant numbers of shoppers being online whilst they are inside shops, bricks-and-mortar outlets need to respond. Having a close and real-time eye on the pricing of online competitors and reacting quickly are now key success factors for physical retailers, as well as online ones. This is especially true for retailers in regions such as Asia and South America, as consumers here are most active in using their mobiles while in a store.”
Looking at individual countries, shoppers in South Korea, China and Turkey are the most likely to compare prices in-store on their mobile phones, with 59, 54 and 53 percent respectively saying they regularly do this. Shoppers inUkraine, South Africa and India are least likely to participate in this activity, standing at just 11, 15 and 17 percent respectively.
Contacting friends or family for advice is equally important to men and women
Globally, men and women are almost equally likely to use their mobile phones inside a store to contact a friend or family member for advice (40 percent of women and 39 percent of men say they regularly do this). Young adults aged 20-29 lead on this particular activity at 48 percent, while teens aged 15-19 follow closely (47 percent) and those aged 30-39 trail at 40 percent.
This shows that word of mouth and advice from the shopper’s own circle is now present right at the very moment of making the purchase decision inside a store. Sales staff and the physical shopping experience face a significant new external influence in-store.
Looking at individual countries, shoppers in Mexico, Poland and Turkey are the most likely to use their mobile phones to contact a friend or family for advice while in a store, with 55, 53 and 52 percent respectively saying that they regularly do this. By comparison, shoppers in Japan, Indonesia and Germany are the least likely to do so, with just 16, 21 and 24 percent respectively.
Men and women are equal in taking pictures of products for later purchase decisions
Taking photographs of actual products that they might buy is the third most popular activity that shoppers use their mobiles for while they are inside a store. Globally, men and women stand equal on this activity, with over a third (36 percent) of each routinely taking photos of products while shopping. Globally, teens (aged 15-19) and young adults (aged 20-29) are ahead of the curve on snapping photos inside a store (44 percent and 43 percent respectively), while the 30-39 year old shoppers follow at 39 percent.
Looking at individual countries, shoppers in Mexico (49 percent), China (49 percent) and Turkey (47 percent) are again the most likely to use their mobile phones whilst in a store – this time to take pictures of products that they might buy. By comparison, this activity is still nascent in markets such as India (12 percent), Ukraine (13 percent) andIndonesia (16 percent) – but this trend needs to be watched closely, as smartphone penetration increases in these markets.
UGO Wallet expands capabilities to include more loyalty cards
Next generation app allows users to add multiple loyalty cards, available on more smartphones
UGO Mobile Solutions L.P. announced a significant update to its mobile app, UGO Wallet. Building on its payment and loyalty platform – launched just three months ago – this new version allows users to quickly and easily store multiple loyalty cards by simply using their smartphone’s camera to scan the barcode of their loyalty cards. This is another step in providing Canadians the ability to digitize and slim down their wallets.
Customers can now collect, and where applicable, redeem reward points in the same way they use their plastic loyalty cards, simply by presenting the digitized barcode of their loyalty card on their smartphone at check-out for scanning. Barcode scanning technology is compatible with an extensive list of smartphones, including Apple iPhone.
“This feature is a benefit to both loyalty programs and consumers – providing the opportunity for improved program participation and member engagement,” said Alec Morley, CEO of UGO Mobile Solutions. “It’s also a great example of our ongoing effort to develop and evolve UGO Wallet, by providing an enhanced digital wallet experience.”
The new loyalty card feature is compatible with an expanded range of smartphones, making this version of UGO Wallet available for download on the App Store, as well as Google PlayTM and BlackBerry World. Owners of eligible NFC-enabled BlackBerry 10 or AndroidTM smartphones also have access to the payment functionality of UGO Wallet, available with participating credit cards.
Infegy Releases Report of “The World’s 50 Most Popular Brands” Based on Analysis of Billions of Online Conversations
Infegy, a provider of social media intelligence technology for marketing and research professionals, has released a report of “The World’s 50 Most Popular Brands of 2014.” The year-over-year report is based on data compiled through Infegy’s flagship product, Infegy Atlas, a next-generation analytics platform leveraging advanced algorithms to deliver brand and consumer insights in easily digestible stories and headlines.
The fully interactive report analyzed more than 800 brands and drew on billions of online conversations from 2014 and Infegy Atlas’ powerful analysis to determine:
The brands the people talk about most
Overall positivity and negativity surrounding each brand
Levels of positive purchase intent
The topics people reference most when talking about brands
Rankings based on several metrics including volume and sentiment
A number of newcomers cracked the top 50, most notably Flappy Bird. Flappy Bird was the only game to hit the list, even though a number of other popular games, including the widely successful Clash of Clans, are tracked. FitBit saw the highest purchase intent at 36 percent, highlighting the emerging trend of wearable tech and how important fitness integration is for these devices.
Google claimed the top spot for the second year in a row thanks to volume of conversations, positive sentiment and overall passion for the brand. No. 6 Disney garnered the most positive brand sentiment, with an overwhelming 86 percent positive conversations. At No. 31 on the list, CNN experienced the most negative brand sentiment, with 52 percent negative, 41 percent positive, and 7 percent mixed feelings.
Though No. 4 Apple’s chatter peaked in September and October, coinciding with the launch of the iPhone 6, total conversations were down 32 percent compared to 2013. Of all brands, Chevrolet saw the biggest change in ranking, dropping 13 spots to No. 46, while Chipotle experienced the biggest increase, moving up 10 places to No. 30.
“As the popularity of online and social brands gains momentum, this report shows how the world is changing and how a new generation is interacting with and responding to brands,” said Justin Graves, CEO and founder of Infegy. “Marketers will need to make adjustments to their campaigns and initiatives in order to strategically reach consumers in a positive and engaging manner.”
To view the report and to see complete details on each of the 50 ranked brands, including gender, sentiment, purchase intent and trends, visit: top50.infegy.com.
Lloydmedia, Inc is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, and is a multi-platform media company which delivers a total audience of more than 100,000 readers across four national magazines, three industry directories, and a range of events and online marketing.