Online Retailers Go In Pursuit Of Europe's Valuable Cross-Border Consumers Worth €40 Billion By 2018

Michelle Beeson

A few weeks ago I was in Barcelona for the Global eCommerce Summit (GeS). One of the hot topics on the agenda, and during the coffee breaks, was internationalization. How best to evaluate and prioritize new market entry? How far do you need to go with localizing your website and the customer experience? How do you manage different market regulations and nuances?

The focus of these questions at GeS this year was the US and China. Yet, these questions also apply when considering market expansion in Europe. Forrester’s new Western European Online Cross-Border Retail Sales Forecast 2013 To 2018 shows the opportunity for eBusiness professionals, pursuing European expansion through cross-border sales, is growing. In fact, European online cross-border sales will reach €40 billion by 2018, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% over the five year forecast period.

Key takeaways from the forecast include:

  • The majority of online cross-border revenues will stay within Europe. European online consumers who buy outside their home market are more likely to do so from another European market rather than those outside Europe.
  • More retailers look for growth across borders, broadening the competitive landscape. The number of EU retailers who sell online across borders will grow by a CAGR of 12%, with 28% of European online retailers selling across borders by 2018. eBusiness pros at retailers of different sizes and categories are actively pursuing valuable cross-border shoppers and international sales to drive growth.
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Time To Become a Digital Unicorn

Martin Gill

I’m happy to report a major milestone.

The final chapter of the Digital Business Playbook went live today.

It’s the Tools and technology chapter, which has been an absolute beast of a research project. After all, where do you start outlining all of the tools and technologies you need to transform your business to become truly digital? To digitize your business strategy?

The short answer is you don’t.

In most of our research for the Digital Business Transformation Playbook we’ve concentrated on finding and outlining best practice examples of traditional firms that are transforming to embed digital into the heart of their business strategy. As one of our Research Directors so rightly pointed out early in this research, “horses don’t like stories about unicorns”. It’s not so helpful for us to tell you “hey, just copy Amazon” when you run a retail bank with a chain of a thousand branches around the world.

But in this instance we do need to hunt for unicorns.

Because the unicorns are nailing it.

Firms like Amazon, eBay or Spotify manage digital technology on the massive scale, yet retain a high level of innovation and agility. So what sets them and other digital masters, apart from digital dinosaurs in their relationship to technology? What can we learn from how they plan, manage and invest in technology? What we found was:

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Five Killer Competencies Your Digital Team Needs

Martin Gill

It’s no great shocker that digital skills are in short supply.


In our annual organizational and staffing survey of eBusiness and channel strategy professionals, we found that while eBusiness budgets have grown by more than 10%, finding the skills and capabilities to execute on a digital strategy is becoming harder and harder.


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Banks In Spain, Poland, And Turkey Are Paving The Way For Next-Generation Mobile Banking

Aurelie L'Hostis
As Europeans become more familiar with mobile banking, they use it for a growing range of banking tasks such as money transfers and bill payments. Consumers’ behavior will continue to shift as mobile experiences with retailers, airlines, and the Airbnb’s and Uber’s of this world raise expectations about what mobile apps and sites can offer and how convenient they can be to use. Customers across Europe now want access to their accounts 24/7, the ability to perform a range of transactions with only a few clicks, and the possibility to manage their finances directly on their smartphones. 
Yesterday we published our "2015 European Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark" report, after evaluating the mobile banking services of thirteen leading European banks. Faced with a fast-moving competitive and technology environment, digital teams at European banks have striven to keep up with customers’ rising expectations. A cluster of banks in Spain, Poland, and Turkey – CaixaBank, Bank Zachodni WBK, mBank, Işbank, Akbank, and Garanti – now stand out as world-class, raising the bar to deliver great customer experiences, create new value, and engage customers in their mobile moments. 
Here are some highlights from this research:
  • The European banks we reviewed offer extensive mobile transactional functionality. Turkish and Polish banks in particular make it easy for customers to pay a bill directly on mobile.
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Technology Advancements Mean Machine Translation Has Earned A Second Chance

Lily Varon

It's simple math: The sheer volume of translatable website content multiplied by the number of languages needed to globalize can make a translation initiative out of reach. The truth is that machine translation (MT) offers access to otherwise unreadable information for global consumers.

While it’s true MT can't account for context and tone and often fails to grasp the nuances and ambiguities of language, there are several technology advancements improving the quality and efficiency of MT. Additionally, the MT engines offered by language service providers aren't the humble online translation tools of yore. They include complex rules engines and sophisticated algorithms, which are often also trainable and customizable based on industry terminology, resulting in much higher quality translation output.

Before dismissing MT, eBusiness leaders should consider that:

  • Big data has made a big impact. Faster and more sophisticated algorithms allow for greater efficiency and accuracy in translation processes and workflows.MT relies on the coding and matching of languages — a vast and variable data set — thus, it has benefitted greatly from advances in analytics and data processing.  
  • Translation memory is boosting translation quality and efficiency. Translation memories are sophisticated language databases that store already translated content. By leveraging previously translated content, firms can reduce the volume of new content to translate plus improve consistency in translation outcomes.
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Making The Case To Go Global

Zia Daniell Wigder

Today we published the business case report for our eCommerce globalization playbook (client access req’d). In it, we discuss how to think about international expansion and how to win over executives with your plans for global domination. However, as a savvy digital business leader, you must first think through:

Is an international offering right for your brand? Business leaders are often lured into thinking that a global footprint is better than a domestic-only one, and that selling overseas is the only path to long-term riches. This is a flawed assumption. Many successful omnichannel retailers have little or no international presence; even web-only players like Zappos serve a US audience exclusively. Other retailers had a hard time penetrating new global markets and ultimately pulled the plug on their offerings. Don’t assume that having a sizeable global footprint is inherently better than having a singular focus on your own market or dedicating resources to just a few international initiatives.

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For The Third Time In Three Years, Forrester’s UK Mobile Banking Benchmark Has A New Leader

Oliwia Berdak

[This is a guest blog by Alexander Causey]

In 2013 NatWest led the way. Last year Barclays overtook having introduced a range of new app functionality, including being the first in the UK to introduce a digital vault (Barclays Cloud It). And now in our latest report we found Lloyds Bank to have jumped ahead of them both.

Forrester’s 2015 UK Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark was published yesterday and reveals our insights around the state of the UK mobile banking, based on reviews of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide Building Society, and NatWest.

Lloyds Bank has pulled ahead of its peers with more extensive account management and transactional features. It remains the only bank in the UK which we reviewed that lets customers add a new payee directly in the app. If I’m out and about and need to pay back my friend for some tickets, I don’t want to have to wait until I get home to add a new payee through my online banking (yes, yes I know…we could use Paym to make a P2P payment but for the sake of this argument, let’s say these are very expensive tickets). I want to be able to add a new payee and send the money then and there - in my mobile moment.

Lloyds Bank is also making strides through its Everyday Offers. By partnering with Cardlytics, the Lloyds Bank app presents customers with relevant cash-back offers based on their past transaction history.

That’s not to say that the other banks are not doing great things. One of my favorite features is Nationwide’s Quick Balance, which lets customers view their account balance in just one click and without the need to login.

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Selling Digital Goods Or Online Services Requires A Flexible Commerce Platform

Lily Varon

Consumers and enterprises alike are increasingly shying away from buying digital content, services, and software outright. Instead, these businesses are embracing alternative business models where they lease or rent access to digital products and services. The disruption to traditional business models is widespread and accelerating across all verticals of digital product distribution, with high profile digital disruptors like Adobe, Netflix, and Salesforce driving changes in the way consumers and enterprises pay for, and engage with, digital products.

Today we see that:

  • Business model changes are accelerating in the digital goods marketplace. Today's digitally connected consumer is increasingly eschewing the traditional ownership model of buy, download, install, and use. Consumers want access to digital content and services across their connected devices, anytime, anywhere — and are embracing virtual ownership models that provide access to vast libraries of content, services, and products under subscription, usage, and other emerging ownership models.
  • A different set of features and services are fundamental for digital goods sellers. Many of the features and capabilities found in enterprise eCommerce platforms are directly transferrable to selling digital goods or online services. However, most of these retail-focused solutions lack the unique features and services needed to sell digital products and services online, including flexible cross selling and bundling, asset protection, subscription management and entitlements among other features.
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Scotiabank Uses Mobile Messaging To Increase Digital Sales

Peter Wannemacher

[Note: This blog post is based on a new Forrester research report; clients can read the full text here.] 

Two years ago, digital executives at Scotiabank looked at the state of mobile banking and recognized the opportunity to roll out targeted mobile marketing to existing customers using the firm's mobile apps. At the time, too few banks were leveraging mobile as a marketing, sales, and cross-selling touchpoint — a problem that is still evident among US banks.

But rather than simply throwing random banner ads at mobile banking users, the digital team at Scotiabank opted to take a targeted approach that served up relevant offers in the user's context, made the "buy" task flow as convenient as possible, and put the bank in position to expand the effort in future years.

As a result, digital executives at Scotiabank have seen mobile cross-selling rates — as measured by year-over-year growth in unit sales via mobile banking — more than double, up 165% since the firm launched this effort.

Scotiabank’s mobile cross-selling initiative is just one example of a brand embracing the idea of mobile moments. Forrester’s wider research shows that mobile moments are becoming a major battlefield in banks’ efforts to win, serve, and retain customers.

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No Big Bank Leads In US Mobile Banking

Rachel Roizen

[this blog post was co-authored by Peter Wannemacher]

Forrester has just published its 2015 US Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark. The report reveals important insights about the mobile offerings from the five largest retail banks in the US: Bank of America, Chase, Citi, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. Forrester clients can find the full benchmark report here:

All of these bank brands are relatively strong, providing customers with the services and functionality they’ve come to expect from mobile apps and sites. But perhaps the most significant takeaway from our research is that no single bank is leading: When it comes to mobile, the big US banks are achieving parity, not breakthrough.

  • Overall, the US banks are meeting customer’s needs... The US banks achieved overall scores of 65 or higher out of 100, scoring particularly well for enabling a wide range of touchpoints and transactional features. All five banks have extensive functionality across bill pay transfers and P2P payments, like mobile remote deposit capture and adding a payee from within the app.  
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