How Can Cross Border E-commerce Businesses Prepare For The Festive Season?

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Faster, better, and cheaper. This is the mindset adopted by many consumers in this age and time. With the global pandemic shaking up retail patterns — perhaps for good, more businesses in Malaysia have increasingly crossed the borders to reach out to a wider target audience seeking engaging e-commerce experiences.

According to a GlobalData study, e-commerce payments  are slated to increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.3% from 2021 to 2025. This is likely bolstered by the increasing use of the Internet and smartphones, strong emerging working class, and the tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zs looking for cross border digitalised experiences. 

For companies, this presents opportunities when it comes to consumer touchpoints even as travel restrictions continue.

What is cross border e-commerce?

Cross border e-commerce is defined as the online selling of goods from one country to another. It can be between a brand and consumer (B2C), or between two businesses (B2B). Such e-commerce activities can be conducted via the company’s own website or a third-party selling platform such as eBay or Amazon.

What opportunities are there for festive e-commerce? 

For exporters looking to cross the borders to expand their customer base, engaging in e-commerce activities with people from a high growth region means there is a strong market size of ready consumers cards sitting in wait. As a country that is as digitally connected as Malaysia, opportunities lie in wait in the form of global shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to a report by Statista in 2021, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day single-handedly held the largest Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of around US$74.1 billion (approximately RM310.1 billion). Due to the increased popularity of such global festivals, cross border e-commerce is now as enticing as ever. 

How to engage in cross border e-commerce during the festive season

With many holidays slated across the year, business owners are readying themselves for the shopping rush. The rise in ad spending during such festive seasons can also be daunting as companies pit against one another to capture the attention of consumers around the world. However, there are a few solutions:

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1. Automate your process

The holiday season can be chaotic and fast. As the holiday season approaches, companies that are understaffed or unprepared can be thrown off by seemingly minor things such as preparing invoices and purchase orders, or struggle with order fulfilment. 

Use softwares such as EasyShip or Shippo to automate as many of these tasks as possible to speed up the workflow. 

2. Optimise your site

Website crashes during a big sale is far from unheard of, and businesses lose sales every year due to this. It does not only hit the small or medium enterprises — even big firms struggle with the same issue. According to CNBC, for every hour that the website is down, retailers lose an average of 4% of a day’s sale.

To prevent this from happening, get your web developer to fix any bugs before the start of the festive season and ensure that the infrastructure is robust enough to withstand an influx of visitors at any time.

3. Develop year-long marketing plan

Festive periods almost never change, so eke out the marketing plan early. Think about the types of online deals and promotions, and theme marketing communications along with the season. Content marketing is also the best way to reach customers these days, so customise the brand’s messaging with these copywriting tips.

Start by identifying the best marketing channels with good return on investment (ROI), the right time to schedule promotions and the best pricing strategy to make a profit.

Why cross border e-commerce is the future

The global pandemic has evolved the way and why consumers shop online. As more look towards their smartphones for retail therapy or daily essentials, businesses should start to implement a strong cross border e-commerce strategy to ride this wave.

With rising social relationships between countries and robust growth of online stores boosting the demand, the global e-commerce market is expected to experience a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.9% by 2030. This translates to an increase of an impressive US$4,350.50 billion (RM18,205.8 billion) in just ten years.

However, this also means that businesses must now learn to tackle rising customer demands. Therefore, the future and sustainability of strong e-commerce also lies in having a strong cross border strategy that can withstand the complexities and challenges of shifting consumer expectations.

Cross border e-commerce will continue to grow beyond the accelerated development caused by the pandemic. In the same parallel, the Malaysian government has also implemented various initiatives to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) go global by providing financial incentives for logistics support, educational training and more.