With some predicting a technical recession for Australia next year, expanding your brand’s global footprint might not seem like the best idea right now. However, the outlook isn’t quite as bleak for the retail industry in particular.
According to Forrester, cross-border shopping will grow to make up 17 per cent of global e-commerce next year. And while the ongoing cost-of-living crisis isn’t good news for retailers, the Economist predicts that e-commerce will still experience strong growth in Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Next year, therefore, could still be a prime opportunity for your brand to make the leap into a new market. If you’re looking to diversify your revenue stream and overcome weak consumer demand at home, partnerships just might be your best bet.
Going global with local partnerships
Cross-border partnerships are to businesses what local guides are to holidaymakers. They help you find new customers and educate them about what you have to offer, often in ways that wouldn’t be available if you went at it alone.
It’s not just about access and awareness, either. Partnerships also allow an expanding company to share some costs of expansion with local companies, organisations and individuals for mutual benefit. A local e-commerce partner, for example, might agree to display your products on its website and save you the trouble of building a new one.
Perhaps even more crucial is that local partners bring an intimate knowledge of their region’s business landscape and deep relationships with the communities they serve to the table. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, this is what enables local partners to act as a bridge between your brand and the consumer and establish a high level of trust.
Taking your first steps abroad
Before you begin reaching out to potential partners in the new market you’ve chosen, there’s some groundwork to be laid first. Here are three important preparatory steps you’ll want to take.
- Establish a local presence
Prospective partners and consumers won’t be very keen to work with or buy from you if they know nothing about your brand, its offerings and what it stands for.
Establishing a local presence – whether through hiring or subcontracting – solves this problem. Think of your local presence as a forward operating base that helps you build brand awareness and consumer demand.
- Do your research
Going in blind is a proposition best left to the freewheeling backpacker. Successful expansion relies on knowing the market.
Tap into the specialised knowledge of your on-the-ground team to find out who the most prominent players are – from the biggest publishers and most popular influencers to your target audience and likely competitors.
- Let data drive your decision-making
Whether it’s analysing the traffic and social data of potential partners or tracking their performance after the partnership has been formed, data is your best friend.
You’ll need the right tracking technology to ensure that you have all the necessary data to make intelligent decisions.
How JSHealth Vitamins successfully expanded overseas
For wellness brand JSHealth Vitamins, Impact.com’s partnership management platform was instrumental in performing the three steps mentioned above.
- Delivering information on the brand’s product range to publishers for the creation of in-depth editorial content that strengthened brand awareness.
- Recruiting a range of partners across four markets (Australia, Europe, the UK and the US) from Impact.com’s marketplace of global partners.
- Using the Impact.com platform’s reporting functionality and detailed tracking to reward top-performing partners.
The results were spectacular. JSHealth Vitamins achieved average monthly returns on ad spend and investment of 410.9 and 311 per cent respectively, thanks to a network of 193 partners across four markets.
Next year is not going to be a bed of roses – that much is clear. But as JSHealth Vitamins’ success story shows, growing your brand’s presence internationally is far from a lost cause with partnerships in your marketing arsenal.
About the author: Adam Furness is MD, Apac, at Impact.com.