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Social Networks and Global eCommerce

The international popularity of social networks like Facebook has produced a ready global market for Merchants.  These opportunities are already being facilitated by inter-platform integrations such as the one recently announced between Facebook and eBay’s X.commerce business unit which includes eBay, PayPal and Magento, offering enormous amounts of merchandise to Facebook’s over 800 million members.  

This advance announces an era where developers are able to tailor shopping experiences matching the social networking milieu’s ability to share their "like", "recommend" or "buy" preferences with friends.  The viral nature of this potential multiplies the marketing strategies applied to each destination.

The Merchants’ challenge is to serve global social network markets, as well as they do their domestic customers, through effective destination marketing andseamless integrated international ecommerce as necessary parts of their solution. 
Though a massive opportunity, the international social network market is not universally homogenous. Social networking’s global potential can only be attained through destination-specific localization of elements such as; marketing strategies and campaigns, customer service, language translations, Customs and logistics. 

Other critical elements are; understanding, publishing and conforming to each destination’s consumer protection and privacy laws, import terms and conditions. Landed cost localization is achieved by having the currencies and charges calculated and displayed to the customer at the checkout stage.

Few online merchants start out with a clear international strategy.  International growth quite often happens through exposure between peers, global media, etcetera – informal methods, but precursors of the results social networking can deliver.  Even at an early stage, a careful international strategy will nurture that organic growth by making the landed cost of the items relatively affordable. 

ClearPath’s Solution
Pitney Bowes ClearPath™ Services Suite for international ecommerce and logistics provides independent API-driven web services to ecommerce platforms such as Magento, Demandware and NetSuite, enabling developers to equip the retail ecommerce community with global shipping tools.

ClearPath’s combined ecommerce and logistics solution enhances the Merchants, their brands and products through affordable delivered costs and service-value levels.  Merchants can dramatically increase their revenues through international growth driven by; marketing campaigns, social networks innate global reach, synchronization with ClearPath’s integrated global distribution solution.

ClearPath bolsters the universality of the appeal of social networks, invisibly.  ClearPath’s ability to simplify the checkout process and serve competitive international service and rates; effectively puts international and domestic customers on the same level, removing boundaries and allowing the brand’s intrinsic values to feature.

Social networks access masses of potential international customers.  ClearPath’s platform-independence, consistency and universality allow Merchants to focus on their engagement strategies through:
·       Cost competitive, direct-to-consumer overseas service.
·       Customs data, import and export restrictions management
·       Real-time duty and tax calculation
·       Fully guaranteed costs in the shopping cart and checkout pages
·       Consumer choice of shipping methods (e.g. Express, Premier)
·       Simplified purchase handling, shipping, Customs clearance and final delivery.
·       Parcel visibility
·       Destination-appropriate policies, terms and conditions.
·       Project Planning, Management and Implementation.
·       Language, Marketing and Customer Service options.
·       International returns management with duty & tax clawback.

MercantileCrossing couples the ClearPath™ Services Suite with its international ecommerce consulting, to allow customers of all sizes to leverage the ClearPath advantages.  Applying Mercantile’s International ecommerce experience to working with a Merchant’s strategists, developers, legal and marketing resources, yields comprehensive solutions built around a ClearPath integration.


Michael Forrester