International Ecommerce best practices

Examples of the cultural customisation needed for international retail sales

Our friends at Practicology recently held an event looking at approaches to customising Ecommerce for local markets. We thought it would be useful to share the presentations for marketers working on tailoring their proposition to increase international sales. We highlighting the retail e-commerce case studies from Clarks and Debenhams, along with multi-channel research from Amplience.

In their presentation, they shared ‘6 strategies in play’ for e-commerce:

  • 1. Do nothing: Don’t allow anyone to buy from overseas.
  • 2. Standardisation: Switch on the buy button only.
  • 3. Adaptation:  Localise some aspects.
  • 4. Localisation: Fully localise the customer proposition online.
  • 5. Multi-channel market entry: Lead with online, open stores.
  • 6. Lead with stores; then localise online.

Clarks case study : Going Global with e-commerce

Head of E-commerce for Europe at Clarks, Dave Elston shared his experience on Clark’s global e-commerce strategy and some snippets are shared below from his presentation:

  • Clark’s focus on internal engagement across the organisation, sharing information on P&L, SEO and brand visibility results. Their Ecommerce team structure supports their internal comms.


  • Cliches are true: Their research and experience has validated that some cliches are true! Using this insight helps with content and website layout design – ultimately improving engagement and the customer experience. Focusing on the ‘Emotions of French visitors’ through less internal search and providing links for content and graphic improves engagement. Whereas, the German shoppers prefer internal search in the left hand menu navigation. Some of the evidenced cliches highlighted are:



Read more about their findings at Clark’s E-commerce slideshare below:

Debenhams case study – Multi-channel innovation

Ashley Payne, Head of Digital Operations at Debenhams presented findings on ‘the innovation struggle’. With 300m sales online and continued international expansion, Ashley shared how Debenhams are using disruptive technologies to support the business:

  • Delivered an IPhone App:


  • Reviewed their teams and culture to an agency-like-culture


  • Reviewed deliverables and maximised resource


Read Debenhams full on Slideshare.

Multi-channel Research from Amplience into User Experience

Mo Syed, Head of User Experience at Amplience shares his insight into the UX and engaging the ‘unconscious mind’ with their social and mobile commerce experiences – how consumers respond ? what motivates them and when?

  • When in the day do we read, post or tweet?


  • How do we impact the ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious mind’ with our content?


You can check their full Slideshare below:

  • Lenka Istvanova

    Very insightful post Susanne! Clarks and Debenhams have definitely got it right. Consumer’s decision process varies from country to country and it’s therefore crucial for companies to understand the differences and respond to them respectively. In the end, one size doesn’t fit all; although there are still businesses (even the big ones) which don’t seem to be getting it right.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    • Dave Chaffey

      Glad to see that’s useful Lenka – you don’t see the importance/practice of “cultural customisation” discussed much so I hoped it would be useful to share these decks. We are working on a guide to international digital marketing, so will be more advice on this in a few months.

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