More and more companies are opening up new markets beyond their own national borders. More than three quarters of German dealers are already actively selling abroad and 17% are accepting orders from abroad. Because it has never been easier for a manufacturer or retailer to internationalize its business model. Cross-border e-commerce has thus long reached a high level of importance.
There are a few challenges to overcome. You can find out what they are and how to solve them here.
Challenge #1 – Chaotic product data
Each country creates its own product data and uses its own programs. Thus, a separate data silo is built in each country. It is therefore almost impossible to bring them together and achieve efficient processes.
Would you like a few examples?
- No one knows exactly how work is done at the location in Argentina. They may have Excel files there, while the head office in Germany uses an SAP system. Data exchange does not take place in such a situation, of course.
- If a new head office is opened in France, product data must be completely regenerated, although 30-40% of the product data would not have to be regenerated. Here there is a great danger of uncontrolled growth, because a lot of process-irrelevant data is accumulated.
Under these conditions, when every country has to send product data manually by mail in the worst case, no online shop can be built. This is very important, especially in B2B, because there are enough driving forces and the turnaround will come.
Challenge #2 – Legal differences
In each country there are laws that need to be considered in order to start your business there. These vary from country to country and you not only need to be aware of them, but you also need to make sure that your online shop complies with all the laws. For example, strike prices are prohibited in France.
Challenge #3 – Cultural Differences
Every business traveller who is often abroad will be familiar with the question of which present for the host is the most suitable and will be very careful not to put his foot in his mouth, for example by giving away alcohol in the Arab world. However, cultural differences do not stop at style, gifts or behaviour, but go much further. Thus, psychological-human differences must be taken into account.
The solution? – PIM system!
The solution is to first create a basic uniformity in your data processes among these legal & cultural differences.
You need a PIM system for that.
In it, all data is consolidated in one central location, e.g. a sharepoint, and is no longer located in many different places. An automated export and import of data, as well as the integration of data from external systems is no problem, because an interface is available for all managed data. Each of your products is assigned information about so-called assets (images and videos). To also connect marketing data to it, you can use a Media Asset Management (MAM).
To easily bypass language barriers, you can automatically translate your product data thanks to the PIM.
Workflows also function smoothly thanks to role and rights systems, for example, by using quality gates.
With a PIM system, you supply all your locations from a central source, achieve a homogeneous marketing presence and accelerate your (data flow) processes. So you achieve process-driven efficiency and consistency.
We at NETFORMIC use the PIM system Pimcore for this purpose. Learn more about the features Pimcore offers here.
Only those who offer this basic uniformity in the data processes can survive in the digitalized world, because only then a flexible adaptation of the business model and a faster time to market are possible!
How to combine uniformity with legal & cultural differences?
The uniformity that a PIM system creates also creates freedom. These can be used to be able to act quickly and individually, for example by adapting to legal circumstances or taking cultural differences into account. It is important that the uniformity of the data processes does not “take anything away” from anyone, but on the contrary creates freedom that enables an international corporate culture. In this way, a uniform international company presentation is achieved, which can nevertheless take into account the differences and individuality of the respective nations.
“Simply put, by pruning everyone in the areas that are inefficient anyway through a PIM system, you ultimately achieve a gain in freedom for all, which is then efficient & adaptable to the digital world.”
Grischa Zimmermann, Director Account Unit NETFORMIC GmbH & Author
We facilitate the entry into our clients’ digital transformations with strategy workshops and market analyses as well as develop successful, scalable and future-oriented digital solutions and individual developments for them.