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From the Experts: 4 Steps to Find Growth in New Markets with Cross-Border Business

Have you heard of discovery commerce? In this guest article, Meta’s Global Marketing Manager Ralph Aoun uncovers four steps to reach new audiences across the world, from using machine learning- powered advertising to building a creative strategy.

By Ralph Aoun

Today, businesses are transforming as they adapt to global supply chain slowdowns, economic uncertainty, and ad ecosystem changes; all while navigating the possibilities of today’s technology. While challenges are presented, in many ways, there is more opportunity than ever for business growth.

International expansion can help businesses drive growth by accessing larger addressable markets, unlocking economies of scale, and diversifying their risks. 

According to a Q2 2022 study of S&P 500 companies, businesses with more international revenue exposure have ten times the earnings growth than those that don’t. In addition, cross-border e-commerce growth is outpacing domestic e-commerce growth by 5 points. It has been estimated that by 2026, the global cross-border e-commerce market will be worth $2.2 trillion—a compound annual growth rate of 17% since 2019.

People are also enjoying the benefits of cross-border shopping. Buying across borders unlocks a wider, and often more affordable, range of products. 

Ralph Aoun, Global Marketing Manager at Meta

A Meta commissioned YouGov survey of more than 16,000 online shoppers across eight countries shows that more than half (54%) of online shoppers surveyed say they’ve already bought a product in the last six months sold by a business in a foreign country, and 82% say they’re open to doing so—a figure that underscores the tremendous potential of cross-border commerce. 

Online shoppers surveyed cite better prices and access to a larger selection of products as their top motivations for making cross-border purchases. There’s also the allure of something different, with more than a third of cross-border shoppers saying they’re motivated by the ease of discovering new and interesting products from foreign businesses.

To make the most of the cross-border opportunity, leading businesses are creating serendipitous moments of discovery by reaching people with personalized, engaging, and seamless experiences. Meta calls this kind of marketing discovery commerce.

Successful businesses are expanding internationally by using Meta technologies to select the right market, set up logistics & localization, build a creative strategy, and ultimately drive online sales.

1. Selecting the right market(s)

In the past, determining which countries to expand into has required significant time and resources. Today, businesses are using digital tools to identify valuable export destinations. For example, collaborative ads is a tool that allows marketers in one country to market and sell via a trusted retailer in their test market. Measurement tools like A/B and lift testing can help evaluate the impact of expanding into a new market prior to committing.

Together with Meta, Startups Without Borders Summit has trained over 2,000 entrepreneurs in the Middle East.

2. Setting up logistics and localization

Although consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with buying across borders, there can be blockers that prevent people from completing purchases with foreign businesses. Top among these are concerns over transparent display of all costs (81%), localized pricing and currencies (79%), easy returns and refunds (78%), and delivery tracking (77%).

Removing these points of friction from a shopping journey helps people complete a purchase. Experts from Meta’s Global Expansion Partners network can help create a seamless end-to-end experience by setting up logistics and localizing every touch point from payment, to shipping, to customer support.

3. Building a creative strategy

Because cross-border shoppers have fewer opportunities to physically interact with merchandize, it is important to effectively communicate product details such as quality, materials, and sizing. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of cross-border consumers surveyed say they want comprehensive product information (e.g., video demos and detailed photography) when evaluating potential purchases from foreign businesses. Technologies such as augmented reality that enable people to experience products immersively can be valuable, with nearly 2 in 5 cross-border shoppers surveyed saying it is important to virtually try potential purchases.

Marketing to shoppers via a creator helps drive discovery and trust. In fact, more than half (51%) of cross-border shoppers surveyed cite them as a top source of information to discover and evaluate products. In particular, creators local to a market are perceived as credible and trustworthy. 

Building creative that resonates can help bring your business closer to people. Tools like Dynamic language optimization and Advanage+ international catalog ads localize the language, creative and information you use in your ads to make them more relatable to customers.

4. Growing online sales

Social media plays a disproportionately important role in discovery, with 58% of cross-border shoppers surveyed saying they found products from foreign businesses this way. 

Effective marketers help their products get discovered using machine learning powered advertising which can reach new customers by matching products with people most likely to love them. With Meta tools like Worldwide targeting and Multi-country lookalikes, businesses can reach the most relevant people regardless of where they are located and what is motivating their purchase.

Businesses are leveraging Meta’s solutions to reach people in new markets. For example, the UAE-based gym wear brand SQUATWOLF wanted to improve its advertising performance. By localizing their website and using Meta’s cross-border solutions, the business found new customers worldwide while successfully maximizing profitability reaching 44 new countries and achieving 5X increase in sales and 4.5X increase in revenue from Meta ads.

By embracing discovery commerce and Meta’s cross-border solutions, companies have a chance to reach new audiences, whether they are around the corner or across the world.

To learn more about how to expand your business globally by helping your products reach more people in more places, explore the Meta Cross-Border Business Hub.

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