December 30, 2010, 11:24 AM

International e-commerce to gain more attention in 2011

A Forrester analyst predicts that international efforts will stretch beyond Europe.

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While some retailers such as Gap Inc.  and Zara have launched new localized international sites this year, several more retailers will focus on global expansion in 2011, predicts Zia Daniell Wigder, a Forrester Research Inc. senior analyst.

“While Canada and the U.K. still rank as the top destinations for U.S. online retailers operating abroad, it’s not just the markets of North America and Europe that are attracting attention,” she writes in her blog.

Rather, Wigder, who also wrote about global e-commerce markets in the December issue of Internet Retailer, predicts many retailers will increasingly look to expanding in China because the country has the world’s largest online population and a burgeoning e-commerce market.

“China is the one e-commerce market poised to rival that of the U.S. longer term,” she writes in her blog.

Brazil will also appear on many retailers’ radar as retailers—even though few U.S. retailers have expanded to the market. That’s because the country’s e-commerce market is rapidly growing, she says.

Among Wigder’s other predictions:

• International shipping options will grow increasingly common due to a variety of vendors, such as FiftyOne Global Ecommerce and Bongo International that make it easy for a U.S. retailer to ship abroad without having to work out the logistics on its own.

• Companies will take small steps as they expand domestically. That means that many retailers will leverage their domestic infrastructure for as long as possible until their international revenues merit a more robust investment abroad. 

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