With Sterling’s fall in value due to Brexit, the UK’s online retail industry has become more attractive to international shoppers. Sale days such as Black Friday therefore saw even more transactions than previous years, with more purchases potentially coming from overseas customers. Now recognised as the biggest spending day of the year, a huge number of consumers were ready to splash the cash last month – not to mention the slightly newer Cyber Monday that sellers could capitalise on as well.
However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the only sale days that present profitable opportunities to UK retailers this season; If British businesses are currently receiving more traffic from overseas shoppers then why not look into promoting and capitalising on other international sale days that are local to new customers? This will help UK online retailers to attract greater numbers of foreign shoppers and strengthen relationships with those that are making purchases post Brexit.
If you think Black Friday is as big as it gets, think again. The biggest online sale in the world is currently the Chinese discount extravaganza, ‘Singles Day’ which took place on the 11th of November. As the name suggests, Singles Day is mostly tailored to singletons, with products such as single travel tickets and ‘boyfriend’ pillows often found on offer. Chinese consumers spent £14.2 billion in 24 hours in 2016, and every year the discount day grows in popularity, with Alibaba making an active effort to expand Singles Day outside China into more countries.
On December 12th, eBay’s main sale day takes place. Named ‘Green Monday’ in reference to the colour of money, it has also become one of the biggest online selling days, and is definitely worth capitalising on in the run up to Christmas.
El Buen Fin in Mexico takes place during the third weekend of November. It means ‘the good weekend’ and is Mexico’s answer to Black Friday, with most retailers opening early and offering deals for shoppers online. The sales day racked up sales worth £7.9 billion in 2014 and has only grown since then.
A top tip to bear in mind, if you’re looking to target these international audiences on sales days, is that UK retailers must look to localise the experience for shoppers. For example, if an online seller wants to cash in on El Buen Fin, translate the website into Spanish and display prices in Pesos. One business that saw great benefits after localising its website is FreestyleXtreme, an online retailer that sells sporting products. Its revenues almost doubled in a matter of months after translating its website into 13 languages and offering nine different currencies.
Another important factor to consider is, if you are expanding abroad, it’ll be beneficial to provide a local returns address as it saves money on costly couriers. In fact, from the 15th November last year, Amazon made it compulsory for its sellers to provide a local returns address to customers. If sellers are found not to be complying with these regulations Amazon will block their accounts.
And finally, if you’re targeting international markets for the first time, make sure that you have enough people, as well as clear processes in place to handle the influx of orders. You might want to consider hiring an external agency to help during busy periods.
While Brexit’s effect on the pound sees more foreign shoppers purchasing from UK retailers, British businesses have a serious opportunity to strengthen sales made overseas. International sale days are a great way of capitalising on this.
By Mark Bellamy, director at B2C Europe