International Retail Expansion: Don’t Be a Stranger in a Strange Land

More and more, market saturation in the U.S. is forcing retailers to take their expansion plans overseas. And that demands a carefully researched strategic plan that you can roll out as you move from one country to another. The idea is to think and act like a local from the get-go. To understand cultural nuances, avoid faux pas and position yourself to succeed wherever you put down roots.

To that end, you need to clearly answer three questions:

What country should you go into?

To get started, analyze customer data you’ve collected from your domestic business. You’re looking for the potential customer segments that are similar in foreign markets. Once you’ve discovered the customers who most closely resemble the profiles of your customers in the U.S., you can tap into local insights in your chosen market.

Inside that country, where are the primary markets that hold concentrations of your customers?

Pinpointing those markets streamlines your approach to products and services and reduces complexity. Customer household segmentation data is now more prevalent than ever, even in emerging countries. With new datasets constantly appearing, pictures of your audience are quickly becoming crystal clear.

What sites are best for you?

And how do they interact with other channels in your network? We advise our clients to quantify site potential and marketability using customized models. It’s the most reliable approach to prioritize the sites that will be top producers — as well as identify the ones you should walk away from — and strategize across channels, from physical stores to digital.

Once you’re doing business in another country, keep attuned to your customers’ needs. Continually evaluate ROI so you can efficiently target localized marketing messages. And adjust your models frequently as new customer profiles and datasets become available. Bottom line, the customers you want there are just like the customers you have here; you simply need to know where to find them.  

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