Ecommerce Club Working Lunch Edinburgh: Report

October saw the first Ecommerce Club Working Lunch in Edinburgh, exploring how to break down borders in global ecommerce. Greig Holbrook, Founder, Oban Digital was on hand on 27th October to take members through key ecommerce dates, trends to follow and what to consider when localising for international ecommerce.

With global growth in ecommerce, and increasing cross-border purchasing, digital marketers have a challenging job in front of them. Purchasing and delivery options can be very specific to different geographies, let alone issues about localised preferences, languages and data management. One of the most interesting areas is possibly the international interest and growth of local dates that are becoming global events, from Black Friday, Singles Day to White Day. The question to be considered, given the volume of spend, is how to best take advantage of the opportunity.

By organising sales, promotions and marketing activities around specific dates in the calendar, ecommerce businesses can ensure that they are targeting the right person, at the right time and converting them to valuable customers. The report includes information about when and where each event takes place, how much is being spent, what is being purchased, as well as an in-depth social and economic analysis of each event. One of the things that came out of the discussion is that localised search can help support a retailer internationally, even if the site itself is not translated

It’s critical to understand the differing importance of differing events. For example, China’s Zhonghe Festival (March 21) and National Day (October 1) are afforded exactly the same prominence, but the ecommerce potential of each event couldn’t be more different. One is a small-scale traditional festival that marketers could mention in passing to make their social media activity more regionally authentic – the other is a pillar of annual business in China, during which 975 billion yuan ($158.94 billion) will be spent.

In Mexico, Three Kings Day is growing in importance: Día de los Reyes Magos is the day when children traditionally receive gifts. In 2014, the average family budget was 1200 pesos (around $90 USD) – in Mexico City alone, spending amounted to 560 million pesos ($41 million USD).

Korea’s White Day in March continues to increase. Koreatime.co.kr reports that spending can be 15 per cent higher on White Day, the local “answer day” to Valentine’s Day. Men in Japan and South Korea purchase gifts as a return favour to women who gave chocolate in the preceding month.

Of course, one area which every brand needs to consider is the changing nature of the weather in different parts of the world. While many Northern Hemisphere countries structure tent pole events around major winter sales, in the Southern Hemisphere the weather is still hot. With Australian ecommerce worth around $15.5 billion, it’s worth remembering that June is the local winter sales period.

The Chinese market is particularly interesting. Not only is it a huge market but it’s a sign of mobile market development to come. While there are only 200 million broadband users in China, there are 1.27 billion mobile phone users, and Singles Day mobile sales beat out those on Black Friday in the U.S.