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How Amazon, ASOS, Boohoo, Gymshark and Paul Valentine have become the leaders in borderless commerce

The A-Z of international innovation from Amazon

With global sales of $205 bn in 2018, Amazon has grown to become the world’s third-largest retail operator (behind Walmart and Alibaba). Amazingly, over half of those sales are generated outside of its domestic US market. Amazon only has an online presence in 20 international markets, but with its ability to offer delivery globally it means its reach and influence extends much wider. 

Aside from scale, a key factor behind Amazon’s success is that it leads in terms of its digital capabilities. Offering a personal experience for individual shoppers, through Prime and Prime Now it offers market-leading next day, same-day and even sub-60-minute delivery in many markets. Amazon continues to roll-out Prime Now across its global markets raising the bar in terms of fulfilment in all markets where it operates. 

After launching Alexa, Amazon's voice technology, they are now a leader in voice technology. Not only this they are also considered the number one innovative retailer in services and technologies such as checkout less stores (Amazon Go) and fulfilment. The company is trialling in-home deliveries where orders are placed inside connected smart homes as well as automated vehicles, including drones.  

ASOS champions of speed and convenience 

In 2018, ASOS improved fulfillment speed and convenience in large cities outside of London and even outside of the UK. For example, it has launched same-day delivery in Birmingham and Berlin and extended its next-day delivery cut-off for orders in the EU to 4pm. Click and Collect is now available in Russia, and ASOS now has more than 3,000 pick-up points located across the country. ASOS have also extended it's buying online, pick-up elsewhere option through Finland, Sweden, and Poland. This forward-thinking brand is really is stretching its international wings and showing why it still holds a top-five spot in the International Retail Index.  

Boohoo know the importance of local to go global 

Boohoo is growing its portfolio of fashion brands – acquiring Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal, MissPap, in the last few years and more recently Karen Millen and Coast. This is helping the brand to penetrate new markets via tailored brand messaging and product types which appeal to a local audience. Fundamental to Boohoo's success is investment in its UK warehouse operation, allowing the brand to live up to its ‘fast-fashion’ promise by getting products delivered quickly. Boohoo recently completed work to its main distribution center – focusing around automation – which the brand says will enhance productivity and efficiency. 

Gymshark show how relatively small brands can gain global exposure 

Gymshark was only founded in 2012 but saw sales more than double to $130 mn in 2018. The brand has used social media to gain a cult-like following, using well-connected influencers to amplify its message and become ambassadors for the brand. It also uses these platforms to generate huge buzz around its sales as well as building a community involving high levels of engagement.

Gymshark shows that with a presence across all the key social media platforms and an understanding of how to use them to maximise the message, even relatively small brands can gain global exposure, ultimately translating into international sales and growth.

From an international presence point of view, Gymshark offers delivery to over 200 markets and territories worldwide, as well as having online stores in 11 markets. Its aim is to operate more than 25 international online stores by 2020. This should enable Gymshark to further improve its Express 1-2 day international shipping. Key to improving customer experience is the implementation of real-time address verification in this innovative brands online checkouts. Not only this but it neatly handles any data quality issues associated with the complexities of international addressing.

International retail is in Paul Valentine’s DNA 

Paul Valentine is another example of a digital pure-play which has international reach as a core part of its DNA. Paul Valentine ship to over 200 markets and territories and have nailed the local experience by offering easy switching between country sites, language and currency selectors as well as address lookup to pinpoint delivery. Satisfying customer demand, this luxury watch retailer also offers 1-3-day express shipping to all markets internationally, typically provided by UPS. 

Like Gymshark, Paul Valentine is utilising social media to generate a loyal global fan base, they put great emphasis on this. Constantly refreshing design, and keeping up with the latest trends is what helps this global brand to generate excitement.

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