A growing number of digital business leaders are being tasked with global expansion. Their technology partners play a critical role: eBusiness professionals rely on partners not only to help build new digital offerings, but also to provide strategic advice on how to effectively penetrate new markets. Some of the key questions solution providers can anticipate from clients and prospects include:

How quickly can I get up and running?  A common scenario looks like this: After years of discussing the need to go global, senior leaders within an organization finally decide to pull the trigger. A frenzy ensues. Digital business leaders are given just a few months to propose which markets to prioritize and how to enter those markets. Given how quickly the new international expansion must happen, business leaders seek out technology partners that promise rapid turnaround on new global initiatives. Solution providers that talk about launching new initiatives in years rather than months are often sidelined in favor of those that can execute more rapidly to fulfill the corporate mandate. 

What will going global cost? Few leaders have access to an endless stream of cash when it comes to launching new global eCommerce offerings. To the contrary: It’s more typical to see businesses pouring a small fraction of what they invested in the domestic business into their international initiatives. Cost is therefore front and center when it comes to evaluating new technologies. Solution providers that can help businesses launch across multiple countries in a cost-effective manner are well positioned to capture new business, even when the prospect may be only ready to enter one or two new markets at the time of vendor selection. The exception? When a market is large or strategic enough to merit selecting partners with solutions that cater specifically to that market (think China).

Can I leverage my existing partners in the new regions or countries I want to expand into? Many eBusiness professionals turn first to their existing technology partners to see if they can support international expansion. Savvy leaders that anticipated their company’s global expansion will have selected partners that can help take them into new markets. However, even those business leaders that made an effort to “global-proof” their technology solutions will need to do a careful assessment of their partners’ capabilities in different markets. Rare is the solution provider that excels in every market; most have pockets of excellence in key markets around the globe but either rely on external partners or offer less robust options in others.

Can my partner help me tailor my offering to the local audience? Finally, eCommerce leaders look to their partners to provide them with insights on how consumers shop in different global markets.  Whether the technology provider behind the core commerce suite or the commerce service provider building the new site, eBusiness leaders increasingly expect their partners to bring local expertise to the table. Wondering what site features resonate with Brazilian shoppers? Curious what eCommerce KPIs look like in Germany? Increasingly, brands expect their partners to be able to answer these questions.

Together with researcher Lily Varon, we just published an updated report on Identifying Partners To Help Streamline Global Expansion (client access req’d) that provides insights into the types of solution providers helping to drive global eCommerce expansion. What questions are you asking of your technology partners?