Molly St. Louis
June 24th, 2019
Priming Marketplace Technology for Global Expansion
If you've ever looked at a map of Europe, Africa, South America or even Asia—pretty much everywhere that isn't the triumvirate of North America or the monolith of Australia—then you already understand the importance of transcending borders. Borders represent opportunities: new markets to reach and new products to import into established markets that may never have known these products existed.
A marketplace that goes global can access the widest range of products and present them to the widest range of users. A platform can do likewise, and better yet, it can even help a marketplace make that global expansion, allowing it even more reach than a marketplace. Yet with the expansion into a global market comes new challenges, issues of logistics and regulation that can potentially hamstring a global expansion before it begins.
Geo-Targeted Databases Are Crucial
One company that understands this especially well is Couchbase. Couchbase offers a proposition that any company looking to operate in different countries cannot afford to overlook: a means to deploy databases geared toward delivering service to millions of users in a given geography. This allows companies to better establish infrastructure in their target expansion locations, and thus get those new satellites up and running more rapidly.
Couchbase's CEO, Ravi Mayuram, offered some of the high and low points to operating on a cross-border basis.
Mayuram noted that many of the barriers to expanding into other countries are largely removed. Between internet operations and global shipping chains, expanding into other countries has never been so simple as it is right now.
However, Mayuram also explained that many of the issues of expansion into other countries, especially issues of law and logistics, have always been in place and likely always will be. So, finding ways to establish frameworks that allow for easier operations becomes especially critical to cross-border expansions.
Challenges to Global Expansion
Even in the broader strokes like law, there are individual issues to consider. Mayuram points out issues of data privacy. The specifics of data privacy law often vary from country to country, so as he specifically noted, “Even if you understand that, how do you implement that?”.
Mayuram says that older technologies just aren't conducive to following laws like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is a point that an operation like Couchbase can help with, establishing the necessary framework to “geo-distribute” the data. With a geo-distribution system in place, companies can establish specific policies about what data can be moved across physical borders and what data cannot, better allowing users to remain within the regulatory bounds each country establishes.
In one of the greatest bombshells in the interview, Mayuram asserts that “...60 percent of all e-commerce actually happens these days on mobile devices.” This is a trend that's been on the rise for years; Internet Retailer pointed out that, in 2017, 35 percent of all ecommerce took place on mobile devices. With the typical user reportedly 62 percent less likely to purchase from you in the future if they've just had a negative experience on your mobile site, it makes pre-established frameworks all the more vital to a cross-border operation.
There is no one country's market that is greater than the world market. The largest market on Earth, the United States, represents a GDP of $20 trillion annually. The world economy is over four times that at $84.84 trillion in 2018. With a clear goal to pursue and likewise clear roadblocks preventing businesses from doing the most in that global market, it's clear that companies like Couchbase are going to represent a fast track to opportunity for businesses the world over. Why try to take on the world's various legal frameworks without help? Instead, take advantage of pre-built infrastructure and present a positive experience to your end users that respects the local regulations as well, a point Couchbase is amply ready to address.
If your marketplace is considering global expansion, it is important to ensure that your technology can keep up. Check out this episode of Platform Players to learn more about what you can do to be ready for global domination.