Not every leader in the retail sector dreams of expanding the brand beyond national borders or the local group of countries. For one, it’s an expensive move, and it requires months if not years of planning and preparation. That said, a big part of success in the modern retail space is expanding onto the global scene to open and capitalize on the many markets abroad.
There is no denying that expanding globally is a difficult task, however, there’s also no denying that the rewards can far outweigh the initial investments if you do it right. And that’s why we’re here today, to help you make all the right decisions and invest in the necessary steps that will set your retail business up for success on a global scale.
From meticulous staff management at all locations, to branding and positioning, and all the way to supply chain management and beyond, there’s a lot we need to cover. Let’s dive in.
Build hyper-focused local strategies
To go global, you need to think local. Global retail strategies are based on hyper-focused, highly specialized local strategies that aim to maximize and capitalize on the unique potential of every local market. Now look, you can’t expect to conquer the world in one go, so you’ll need to expand gradually and conquer one market at a time – and every market has its unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
So, you need to localize the strategy for every market where you plan to expand. To start, you should create a detailed and exhaustive SWOT analysis. This is your foundation, and it will give you an insight into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each individual market so that you can prioritize your investments and capitalize on the most lucrative opportunities.
Embrace an omni-channel structure
If you want to run a global operation, meaning to expand into numerous foreign markets, you have to embrace an omni-channel approach when it comes to all things marketing, sales, support, PR, and more. Your retail business needs to have a presence on all online and offline channels in order to engage with customers, inspire them to take action, improve their overall experience, and ultimately generate leads and conversions.
Of course, to manage an omni-channel structure with minimal risk, you need to invest in better cybersecurity now that you’re spread across borders and are operating in unfamiliar territories. Don’t risk a data breach on any of the channels or you risk ruining your brand’s image in the eyes of the local consumer group. Your omni-channel structure should allow you to engage with customers and your international staff seamlessly across online and offline platforms.
Send leaders to your international offices
For a retail business to be successful in foreign markets, you need to create, set up, train, and motivate local teams. You can’t hope to manage an international team from your home country effectively, nor can you simply assign a local offices leader without proper training and education from one of your trusted leaders back home.
That means that you need to send your leaders over there, meaning that they need to learn the local language. For example, if you’re expanding your business into the French market, your leaders should take professional French lessons in the months leading up to their trip abroad so that they can engage with the local teams in their native tongue.
This is extremely important for building morale, boosting collaboration, and creating an effective retail structure, as you can’t expect the local employees to adjust to or use your native language in their country.
Invest heavily in staff training and branding
Once there, your leaders need to tend to extensive staff training and education, conducting seminars and workshops with the local teams to educate them on all things pertaining to your brand and operating model. This is a key step that will ensure proper branding in the local market and that the local employees become a part of your brand quickly.
Needless to say, having your leaders conduct training seminars with the local teams will be instrumental in maximizing staff and operational productivity and setting your new store up for success from day one. This training should evolve with the local market trends as well, so make sure to hire local analytics to provide valuable data and insights, so that you can make the right decisions going forward.
Reach your goals by outsourcing
To run an efficient and effective international operation without breaking the proverbial bank, you need to start outsourcing some of your processes. It’s not just a wise financial decision, though, because outsourcing to local professionals is about the only way to ensure compliance with local retail laws and regulations.
You should outsource your legal processes to local professionals, but you can also start outsourcing parts of your supply chain management, and you can search for more affordable international support staff to fill the ranks. This is a cost-effective way to set up an international retail operation without business-busting financial expenditure.
Building a global retail business is a lengthy and costly processes, but it’s worth the investment if you take the right steps. Use these tips to start expanding your retail operation safely into foreign markets, and start conquering the global retail industry.