E-commerce and M-commerce are no longer novelties. They have become critical components of the overall global growth and development strategy for most brands. The once reliable and knowledgeable sales associates that were the pillars of some retailers’ success, have given way to online influencers – blogs, forums, review sites, social networks, YouTube demos – creating a compelling case for online product research and pre-purchase decision-making that educates consumers anywhere.
Internet penetration numbers speak for themselves. Whether it’s Latin America as indicated by last year’s DLDGlobal in Rio de Janeiro:
Or Russia, as presented at last month’s DLD Moscow that I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at. When looking at a ‘global’ consumer vs. a U.S. consumer, our habits share more similarities than differences. Let’s take the statistics from the McKinsey presentation at last month’s DLD: 57% of Russian consumers research products online before making a decision. Vast majority of those use their phones to access the Internet for that. Just like consumers in the U.S., they go to popular blogs and YouTube channels for reviews, visit forums for user experiences, follow Facebook and Twitter feeds of their favorite brands for exclusive deals and promos. Sounds familiar? It should, as it matches the pre-purchase behavior of an average U.S. consumer like you and me. The myth of a disconnected emerging world that exists in its own universe needs to be debunked.
As marketers head after ‘global’ markets in Cannes this week, and discuss the appeal of China, Brazil, or Russia, I urge them to start taking the Internet-induced complexity and sophistication levels of those consumers seriously. A ‘global’ consumer today is a complicated mix of:
- attentive to detail
- armed with access to a wealth of info
- rooted in specific cultural dynamics in terms of product preference and ‘spendability’
An oversight of one of these components will inevitably lead to a lack success for your brand. Solutions?
- Remain transparent and honest in your ‘global’ message (a savvy consumer will find out the real ‘you’)
- Be flexible and take risks, but consider the market nuances to know where/when that’s allowed
- Research, learn, and strive to attain a cultural competence to speak the consumer’s language