global business

Is it possible to relocate without moving?

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For many companies, having an international existence and development is considered a sign of success. Many of them are therefore prepared to make significant investments to establish themselves in a foreign market. Nevertheless, the development model is changing. With the advent of digital technology, internationalization no longer necessarily means leaving one's national roots.
 

Moving abroad to penetrate new markets: an outdated model?

In the life of a company, there always comes a time when the French market reaches maturity and enters a phase of stagnation. Most companies need to step up the pace: shareholders and/or investors demand increasing momentum.
For these companies looking for new growth levers, the reflex remains, even today, to replicate their business model internationally. Scalability - the ability to adapt to change - is indeed the development strategy on which startups such as Uber or Airbnb have banked.
 
However, this strategy often comes at a price: that of a substantial investment - to recruit, to integrate sales staff, to set up an office, etc. - which is not always the case. - with no certainty of results. This is all the more true in that most companies that opt for this strategy have not yet really done the rounds of their market. Having just passed the take-off phase, they are often not yet strong enough to go international.
Conquering a foreign market is risky and complex. As a result, it is a model that often ends in failure. Big names in retail, such as Sephora, have tried it without success. In Japan, the brand folded up after two years.
At issue is the lack of reputation, coupled with an already organised market and the need to adapt its offer and all its contracts to the local culture and jurisdiction. For businesses, these indispensable steps are all time-consuming obstacles. And if the processes can be duplicated, it is difficult to find the same managerial adherence on another site. Abroad, the mirror effect is blurred.
 

Digital tools at the service of a new business development model

 
Today, when one has a need, the first reflex is "Google". There is a notion of immediacy anchored in our uses, to which only the Internet can respond. Telephone canvassing, once essential in business development, is now supplanted by the omnipresence of the web. In order to develop, it is therefore necessary to set up a digital strategy to be visible on the web.
 
In this, the Internet has changed the game. It is now more profitable and less risky for companies to rely on digital technology to acquire an international dimension. In particular, this makes it possible to rationalize costs by structuring the organization from headquarters. While this new paradigm requires a certain amount of agility, development strategies can no longer do without the web.
The technological means offered by webmarketing allow, among other things, to carry out market studies in real time and to bring out the best of the digital commercials: Google. Landing pages, referencing strategies and social networks are all existing tools to boost the visibility of brands and appear to their potential customers.
 
In order to internationalize, it is therefore in a company's best interest to create a "digital commercial" for each new country. Concretely, this consists in creating content and referencing to reach and convert its target where it is, i.e. on the web. The issue at stake in such a strategy is that of commercial coverage. Identification, visibility and referencing, which would take years to achieve in the field, are much more accessible in terms of time and costs with digital.
 

Keeping a local dimension: strong advantages at the end of the day

In practice, opening up to the international market through digital still requires a small revolution within the company. The organization must indeed adapt to this new commercial channel. It can be broken down into four levels:
- A "digital marketing" service to generate leads;
- A first level of sedentary and highly reactive digital sales people, able to handle any request coming from the new communication channels and able to respond in all the languages addressed by the communication;
- A second, more experienced level of sales staff, guaranteeing a long-term customer relationship;
- A high-performance customer service, available quickly via various means of contact to maintain a strong bond.
 
The key to this upheaval is the many advantages for companies that pass the milestone. The most important one is the financial aspect: digital technology makes it possible to free oneself from the risks linked to development in the field, where two to four years are necessary to become profitable. It is also a means of having perfect control over the user experience, customer satisfaction and costs, i.e. having centralized management of the company and therefore better control.
 
Nowadays, in order to internationalize, companies have more interest in betting on digital than in conquering manu militari this new field. However, digitisation must be a first step in international development. Once the point of profitability has been reached, the company will be able from then on to equip itself with a person in charge of financial steering to accelerate development in the country concerned. In this way, for companies wishing to develop, staying in France creates jobs... and costs less.
 
Frederic Salles, Chairman of Matooma
 

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