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Visa study: Web retailers are looking across borders for growth

Anjalee Khemlani
Senior Reporter

The vast majority of big and small web retailers are increasingly looking abroad for growth opportunities, adapting their businesses to tap cross-border markets, according to a new report by Visa (V).

The credit card giant surveyed 1,000 C-suite executives and business owners in 10 major markets, at big and small companies with an e-commerce focus. Some 87% see international expansion and cross border customers as a key focus, the data showed, with at least 66% already engaged in external markets.

Big brands like Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), PayPal (PYPL), Alibaba (BABA) and WeChat have all built their success in part by understanding the need to connect sellers with customers globally — while understanding the customs that govern each market.

“The ability to get the funds, the ability to have access to consumers outside their home market and literally turn a small business into a global multi-market business is a major emphasis of what these major big marketplaces have done,” Suzan Kereere, Visa’s global head of merchant sales and acquiring, told Yahoo Finance.

Kereere added that emphasis informed Visa’s thinking about how to streamline payment processing for small businesses.

Women hand using laptop do online selling for people that shopping online with chat box, cart, dollar icons pop up. Social media maketing concept.

E-commerce is the fastest growing segment for the cross-border economy. International revenue has become integral to a host of diverse big businesses like Netflix, McDonalds and Johnson & Johnson.

Much of that transition involves learning the local norms of key markets, and adapting historically cash-reliant economies to the boom in digital transactions.

“You can take a consumer in Kenya as much as you can take the consumer that we all know and love now in China, consumers are approaching digital with a healthy appetite,” Kereere said.

Given cultural differences in each individual market, businesses “really have to think about digital and mobile from the buyer and seller in a very local context.” Meanwhile, the concept of buying on credit is being redefined.

“Installments have become an important way for consumers, and frankly sellers, to close the sale between one another,” Kereere added.

“I think a lot of what lies in cross border e-commerce is digital,” she said. “Whether its the digital bank or the digital purchase method, like a credit card, the digital experience is influencing growth.”

Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @AnjKhem

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