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BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor Illustrates the International Opportunity for Retail

Yesterday BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor was published, overlying trends clearly demonstrate a growing, positive trend for international consumers to search for UK retailers using mobile devices, specifically smartphones.  In the emerging markets, mobile infrastructure is far superior to the fixed line broadband networks, accounting for this increase in part. Within the study, Japan was the only country to experience a decline in the number of searches to UK retailers both on tablets and on mobile.


The increased adoption of mobile browsing follows the UK trend where mobile browsing exceeded desktop browsing for the first time in 2014. Sunday is also becoming the key online browse day for many retailers as greater volumes of consumers browse from products from the comfort of their own sofa.

The opportunity of International trade

Internationalisation is no longer associated only with large shopping nations and as such, the opportunity for retailers, of all sizes, to trade internationally has never been so prevalent; the Retail Monitor clearly shows an increased global appetite for British goods.

Of course retailers have many considerations before launching cross territory activity, here are the Top 10 considerations we advise retailers to consider.

  1. Need to understand available margins at both a category and product level in each territory. Available margins may differ by territory due to greater posting & packaging etc.

  2. Are there any legal implications that need considering such as variances in DSA (Distance Selling Act) or cookie compliance etc.

  3. Who is the competition and what is your differentiator; both at a brand and product level.

  4. Research and optimise your product titles and descriptions using the appropriate ‘language’ of your consumer. For example the difference between pants and trousers from US to UK, if you are using the wrong ‘language’ your products will not be found.

  5. Are there any logistical considerations for delivery and returns and what do you ‘promise’ consumers in those territories.

  6. Do you have/need a fully localised website for each territory and how will you determine which site is presented….is this by IP or forced domain based or currency/location detection on entry….This can have major implications on you google listings if not considered.

  7. Where are your competitors listing their products and where are your potential consumers looking for them…by being everywhere your consumers are looking, you maximise your overall potential.

  8. Do you provide the relevant payment methods for each territory, if not you may be limiting your overall success.

  9. Are there any associated costs of launching your retail brand in a new territory

  10. Ensuring overall product accessibility cross device and cross channel.

For retailers to optimise the international opportunity, they need to understand which products are being searched for and how they then convert to sale, in each territory, taking into consideration available margins on those products in conjunction with cost to drive sale.

Understanding the ‘what’ is the first stage, the success of converting a search to an order is dependent on running efficient product level adverts, with fully optimised product content including price, description and images (if applicable). The activity should then be managed and optimised at a product level to maximise profitability.

We continue to talk about Black Friday

The last Qtr. of 2014 saw major increases in product searches, specifically on Black Friday where many retailers heavily discounted across all ranges to encourage consumers to visit their stores, both physical and online. Overall search volumes across Google increased 4 times on this day alone with Babies & Children, Clothing & Accessories and Garden categories experiencing the highest YoY increase in relating click-thru to individual products.

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