In the Middle Ages, the misconception that the Earth was flat was finally put to bed by astronomers and explorers. Now in the most connected era in history, the argument is resurfacing – but this time in relation to technology. In his book The World Is Flat, US author Thomas Friedman says the world has ‘flattened’ in the last 15 years or so, creating a more level international playing field. Friedman lists numerous reasons for this:
The world is a big place, but it is getting smaller in terms of connectivity and reach. This ever-growing connectivity has led to a huge eCommerce boom.
The global eCommerce industry has developed exponentially over the last decade. As the internet brings the world and its people closer, there has been a massive surge in cross-border businesses, and international eCommerce sales.
Industry experts believe that by 2021, the international eCommerce industry will be worth $4.479 trillion. This boom in cross-border eCommerce ensures international consumer markets are growing rapidly. An insight into recent trends suggests that Chinese, Spanish, Arabian, Portuguese, Japanese and Russian are among the most used languages online today, so the demand for translation services is skyrocketing.
In early 2019, cross-border business-to-consumer (B2C) sales crossed the $412 billion mark — accounting for nearly 11% of total B2C eCommerce. Much of this growth is happening in developing countries — with millions more people shopping online as access to the internet expands rapidly.
Source: Common Thread Collective
No discussion about a flattened Earth can avoid the greatest economic leveller of our time — COVID-19. With millions of businesses worldwide ruptured by the shockwaves of the pandemic, accelerated digital adoption is the only logical survival strategy. The global move to cross-border eCommerce is set to further speed up, as the traditional bricks-and-mortar shopping model faces a steady and possibly permanent decline.
In a recent report, Google revealed that search interest in online shopping and how to buy online has doubled since March 2020, and footfall in many stores is still a fraction of 2019 levels. Companies need a hard reset to cope with this year-zero moment in consumer behaviour — adapt, or be left behind.
If you’re an eCommerce business, it no longer makes any sense to think of your customers — or your competitors — as local. In this increasingly connected world, If you’re an Irish business with export capabilities, you should make it your number one priority to seek out opportunities in new international markets. Once you’ve done this, your next goals should be:
Most of this growth will come from emerging markets, and will be through mobile eCommerce. With a professional approach, there is nothing to stop manufacturers or retailers from opening up their shop windows to vast new markets. The playing field has been levelled, or flattened, and we are encouraging our clients to embrace this modern “flat Earth” theory — not necessarily the older one!
If you are a small business in Ireland looking to upgrade and boost your conversions during the pandemic, your hopes of survival without an eCommerce website get slimmer by the month.
Recently, Enterprise Ireland announced a lucrative programme offering Irish retailers support for their online channels. The Online Retail scheme, proposed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, provides a fund of €6.5 million to help retailers in Ireland to improve their online capability.
This is an incredible opportunity to attract new customers in new markets, and we at Matrix Internet could be your project partner in this scheme. If your application wins over judges, we could help your business stay afloat and even increase revenue and growth by helping you set up a powerful new eCommerce store. We have a dynamic, international team from all corners of the world, which fosters a vibrant blend of creativity and an inclusive, global outlook. The rest of the world is closer than you think, so get in touch with our experts today —we’ll work flat out to help you reach your goals!
By Jeff Sheridan
By Conor McCaffrey
By Maria Prendeville