Reading the December 4th, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal I spotted two side by side articles about retailers growth and challenges (see below). Fundamentally U.S. Retailers are trying to determine what their ecommerce strategy is and whether to go stay local or to glocalize.
Yes I said glocalize which is a derivation of glocalization. Glocalization is the art of globalizing your web commerce presence while at the same time localizing it for the respect countries and regions in which you are expanding. A classic example of where this is important is noted in the WSJ article about Nordstrom’s intent to expand into Canada and how the competition in Canada in the form of Harry Rosen Inc expects to maintain an edge.
Expanding your retail footprint into a new country is not as simple as copying your web site and adding some additional payment options. Even if there is a shared language there is not a shared cultural and experiential baseline. In the case of Nordstrom’s versus Harry Rosen Inc, the Canadian retailer’s chief executive states “We’re experts in Canada”.
Further to that point glocalizing the online order entry process will help enhance the sales experience and create a smoother sales process for customers. Also on the backend making sure your local data capture of Name/Address/Phone and other details are mapped to local standards will ensure that you are leveraging customer data in a way that correlates to a local customer’s expectations and experience. A great example of this is using address correction technology that doesn’t account for localized data and rules. A customer enters Hollywood Hills, CA into an order along with a proper zip code. However the address correction software changes the information to Los Angeles to correlate to the zip code provided. While this may be correct in terms of the address it is not correct for local residents of the region who expect that their “vanity name” is acceptable.
Hopefully Nordys (The local user term for Nordstroms) will apply a glocalized strategy to their Canadian growth efforts both in the brick and mortar experience as well as the online ecommerce experience. Until then I suspect Harry Rosen Inc. has little to be worried about.
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