Catering to Global Customers

Where to Start?

Expanding internationally has the potential to create amazing opportunities for your organization. Improved profits, government offered incentives, and educational opportunities are just some of the benefits you can gain as a result. The biggest advantage of engaging global customers in foreign markets is the potential for growth.

Catering to your global market through a deep understanding of where your core customers reside, and how you can tailor your business’ various points of contact with these customers, can produce extremely lucrative results. If you’re a startup or a smaller company operating on a tighter budget, looking at your data can help narrow which demographics stand to generate the greatest ROI through localized marketing and support efforts.

Keith Bedford/Reuters

J. Crew

J. Crew’s decision to incorporate smaller sizing made headlines a few years back when the company began producing size 000 clothing. Catering to a more petite consumer base, J. Crew attributed the new sizing to the brand’s growing Asian market. With an emphasis placed on new stores opened in Hong Kong, the brand’s initiative was in response to their new Asian consumers concerned with the inability to find pants that accommodate petite frames.

While a size XXXS might seem ridiculous to U.S customers, whose average female frame at the time was 12–14, a move like this was essential for for J. Crew to sustain sales in Asian-based markets. As global expansion becomes a more attractive option for retailers looking to open new locations, an emphasis on exploring foreign markets is becoming the norm. Brands like Lululemon, Juicy Couture, Victoria’s Secret and Gap have already announced plans to expand into Asian markets.

Examine Your Data

If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of how to cater your marketing, product, or customer support, examining your existing data is a great place to start. Reviewing your revenue to see which regions have yielded the highest number of sales can be one of the most obvious indicators of what regions your brand stands to gain from prioritizing.

Additionally, looking for patterns in your organization’s numbers, particularly which regions have generated the highest growth month-over-month, allows you to identify where your business has the potential to yield a strong ROI.

Once you’ve examined your existing data, you’ll have a stronger understanding of what regions comprise the strongest pockets of your global customers and what percentage of your annual revenue they generate. Catering to these customers’ native or preferred languages can amplify your brand’s localization and product marketing efforts,providing you with a stronger understanding of what markets stand to generate the strongest ROI from additional resources.

General Considerations

Now that you’ve noticed your brand has found success in developing markets X, Y, and Z, and have a thorough understanding of your data, you should be all set up for success, right?

While examining data is a great first step, businesses still need to research and familiarize themselves with the nuances of each local economy. For many brands approaching global markets, an assumption is held that developing markets are years behind developed nations (HBR, 2008). The truth is that several of these markets are neither more advanced or less progressive than the U.S, just different.

For example, the Harvard Business Review reports that while China’s telecommunications structure is more sophisticated than the U.S’, there still remains 300 million Chinese residents living on less than $1 a day.

Understanding attributes like these and how they can impact culture and subsequently the logistics of business expansion, are crucial considerations when developing a localized marketing, support or product strategy.

By combining a deep understanding and familiarity with your consumer data and target foreign markets and customers, your team can develop a data driven approach to deciding where to best allocate resources. Making informed choices about whether to pursue localizing marketing, customer support or tailoring your product to meet the needs and language of these customers.

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