By Paul Heywood, Managing Director and VP of EMEA, Dyn
The international market for cross-border ecommerce will grow to £666 billion ($1 trillion) by 2020. For UK brands this is a huge business opportunity, especially as the popularity of British brands such as ASOS, Burberry and Topshop have continued to grow more appealing to shoppers abroad.
Enabling a popular brand with strong Internet Performance can heighten its chances for cross-border ecommerce success. As the power of the Internet makes it easier to offer goods and services to customers in foreign markets without a physical footprint, brands can grow their businesses globally quicker and more effectively than ever.
However, there are a few caveats involved–UK businesses are also facing moving goalposts in the form of an ever-growing pool of international competitors. As more and more brands can now provide a digital customer experience from anywhere in the world, UK businesses have to compete with both local and foreign competitors for the same customer base.
In today’s cutthroat business environment, up-and-coming brands will always be able to offer the same product, and often for a cheaper price. Investing in seamless and reliable online customer experiences - which includes online payments as well as mobile access and optimisation - is the key to maintaining a long-term competitive advantage.
Consumers have a plethora of online buying choices so brands have only a few seconds before a consumer will move on to a competitor’s site. Our research found that 3 seconds is the longest the majority of consumers (64%) will wait for a website to load before abandoning a site. Such a small window of opportunity means that UK businesses cannot afford to have a slow website or digital functionality. It is no longer solely an issue of how companies are connected to their customers. They must understand and optimise how their customers connect to them. In the new business landscape business decisions around vendors and technologies are critical differentiators that truly allow organisations to stand out from the competition and deliver complete customer satisfaction.
Any business wanting to provide an exceptional end user experience must ensure a well-executed technology strategy is in place to support the company’s ability to monitor, control and optimise online infrastructure at scale. In this way, they can guarantee that their online solutions will be consistently available, efficient, secure, reliable and fast, even across complex, distributed IT infrastructure deployments. Internet Performance is key. It bolsters the entire digital supply chain ensuring that, regardless of demand, time or physical location, all transactions and updates work properly.
In managing Internet Performance, businesses should check that their cloud service providers and end users are aligned, in order to provide the same online experience. Here, proximity does not necessarily equal performance. Just because a cloud provider has a data centre in a desired region doesn’t mean its performance needs are being met. Businesses need to ensure they are selecting the best locations to run applications, bringing content closer to customers, and connecting with the best-performing Internet or traffic routes so that globally they deliver an excellent experience. Businesses can do this by having visibility and insight into providers that best serve each individual market and understanding how different networks connect within the Internet.
UK brands cannot afford to ignore the opportunity cross-border ecommerce presents. Businesses that do not look to expand into new markets risk falling behind the competition and losing out on potential cross-border revenue. Here Internet Performance must be regarded across all digital properties so that businesses stand out amongst the competition and succeed in new markets. Technology partners that provide this seamless customer experience and keep a brand’s site running smoothly will be critical in building and maintaining consumer trust, whether businesses are looking to crush the completion or make a play for new markets.