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International sales could generate up to $5 million annually, COO says.
Market America Inc. is about to embark on a global mission. The plan is to expand its Shop.com e-commerce sales beyond a handful of nations it serves now with the launch in March of Global.Shop.com, says Marc Ashley, chief operating officer. In development for about six months, the international site will sell Market America-branded health and nutrition products to global consumers. Ashley estimates the new site could generate between $2 million and $5 million in annual revenue.
The international site complements Shop.com, a comparison shopping engine that Market America purchased in 2010. Since then, Market America has made Shop.com its only e-commerce site, Ashley says.
The global site is needed because international demand is growing, he says. “The concept here was we were leaving money on the table because we were not serving customers outside of the countries we have offices in,” Ashley says. Currently, Market America has locations in the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Market America is No. 70 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
The international site will make it easier for consumers in China, Japan, Germany and many other countries to buy Market America products without Market America opening a sales office in each, the company says.
Market America’s only international warehouse, which opened in March in the United Kingdom, will fulfill orders from European consumers, while the company’s North Carolina warehouse will fill orders from other nations, Ashley says. Market America will use United Parcel Service Inc. for European orders and Bongo International for other regions outside of the United States. UPS is No. 1 among shipping carriers in the Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers guide. Bongo enables international consumers to enter a U.S. address when placing orders with U.S.-based e-retailers. Bongo then ships the items to the consumer in her home country.
Global.Shop.com will offer free shipping for orders of more than 30 pounds ($47) to the U.K. and $50 or more to other nations. Prices will be displayed in pounds for U.K. consumers and U.S. dollars elsewhere.
Ashley says the site will be available in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, with much of the translation provided by Market America staff with some assistance from MotionPoint Corp., a translation services company.
Work on the international site is under way in parallel with an ongoing redesign of Shop.com, Ashley says. Later this month a new site search system debuts that does not require refreshes to view more results. Instead, the consumer scrolls down to load more search results, he says. In the second quarter he expects to roll out a new footer and header design followed by new store pages for Shop.com merchants in its marketplace, product detail pages and a new home page design by the third quarter.
A mobile commerce site also is in development, Ashley says. Currently, Shop.com offers apps for Android and iOS devices, but not a commerce site optimized for viewing on mobile phones.