Scaling Global via Multi-Local Strategies

Dan Brewster, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for ESW is the special guest on the latest Global Ecommerce Leaders Podcast episode. Have a listen to the podcast – and/or scroll through some of highlights from the podcast below.

As many in the GELF community know, ESW is a leader in the international distribution of retail ecommerce products for enterprise brands like Nike and Victoria’s Secret. The Dublin-based pioneer in the global ecommerce space provides the world’s best loved retailers and brands with the technology and scale to make global shopping better, safer, simpler and faster.

Dan was joined at GELF NYC ’23 by Martim Oliveira, Chief Revenue Office of ESW, who also shared timely insights into the evolution of cross border commerce and the transition to multi local solutions. Martim joined GELF favorite Michelle Frank on a morning keynote fireside, Cross Border Evolving into Multi-Local: What’s the Difference? Why Should You Care?

Martim set the stage by articulating how the global ecommerce landscape has matured in recent years. Simply put, providing your international customers with an engaging shopping experience is no longer as simple as translating a website and shipping packages overseas.

Multi-local ecommerce is about providing a domestic-equivalent experience at every stage of the shopper journey – from demand generation to reverse logistics. Multi-local strategies empower merchants to provide superior service to customers in both the short and long term.

It was a great session in which both Martim and Michelle did a great job explaining why the international retail ecommerce community will be hearing a lot more about multi-local in 2024.  Check out the video recap of the multi-local keynote fireside on GELF YouTube Channel.  

How Multi-Local Scales the Cross-Border Shopping Experience

On the latest Global Ecommerce Leaders Podcast episode, Dan Brewster provided some great context about how cross border is evolving.  Multi-local solutions involve a lot of different systems that give the shopper almost an identical experience whether they’re shopping abroad or buying online within the brand domestic market.

As Dan does, he cuts to the chase, “The reality is that any brand that truly wants to be global knows that it’s a nearly impossible expectation to own and operate your own facilities on every continent, much less in every country.”

Smart brands know the value of bringing in a partner that can immediately add scale and value.  This can, for example, take the form of connecting with other 3PLs to provide an expedited presence and footprint in every market that makes sense for you.  The bottom-line impact can be equally immediate – a brand does not have to take on the capex investment that otherwise would be required to build out facilities.

So multi-local can be a risk mitigation play as well; this is important because your brand may not take off in a given international market. Dan explains how ESW’s multi-local approach allows adventurous brands to “put a toe in the water and test and then build as and when it makes sense.”

Multi-Local is also a Data Play

As Dan asserts in the podcast, data is king – both today and going forward. And the winners of tomorrow’s market share will be the brands that marshal the most data; both directly and indirectly.

Winning retail brands work with the right partners; partners that help them leverage data insights from a lot of different brands, in a lot of different verticals, and across a lot of different countries.  Tomorrow’s winners are going to be the brands can grow their business quickly with as little risk as possible. Data is the enabler of global economies of scale.

Global Ecommerce Leaders Podcast host Michael LeBlanc and Dan talk about the insane number of transactions across the ESW platform – pointing to specialty stores and special events like product drops where a lot of product gets sold over a very short period of time. Have a listen!

What Data Tells ESW About Today’s Consumer

Great discussion on the kinds of changes the ESW team is currently seeing in the market. Consumer sensitivity to prices continues, but ESW is seeing inflation start to flatten out. ESW’s customer research is indicating that spend levels are expected to be relatively flat this holiday season as a result.

The good news is that buying trends and consumer dynamics are starting to normalize.  The pandemic saw a huge uplift in home categories like furniture and electronics and ESW is starting to see their relative numbers level out.

But by no means is the sky is falling, it’s just things are going back to normal – finally!

Anyone that has been at recent GELF events has seen the community’s conversation shift markedly to opportunities in (and out of) Europe.  On the podcast, Dan speaks to insights the ESW team compiles due to their strong presence inbound into the United States and outbound into Europe. Although those lanes are where ESW’s specialization lies, huge opportunities in APAC and Africa are on the horizon.

Regardless of market, the trick is shortening the time to market, lowering the cost and re-risking what it’s going to take to get product to the customer that wants it!

In Closing: Two Starts & One Stop

Michael’s closer as always! Dan says to 1) double down your investment in data. And don’t forget that AI is today’s shiny object! 2) AI is nothing without quality data

So make sure that the data that’s going into your tools is clean. Take advantage of partners who can aggregate a huge amount of data. Doing so will, for example, enable your brand to identify choke points in delivery, choke points in cost, choke points is in sustainability.

One thing to stop doing? Stop taking a one-size-fits-all approach to any growth strategy. Going global doesn’t mean you should be in 13 markets right away! Instead, take a very systematic approach based on data to understand where you should go.

Crawl, walk, run – do that and you will be much more successful in reaching your global expansion goals.

Great work guys!

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