Congrats on the rebrand! Tell us a bit about the journey to become Loqate.
Our parent company, GBG, are the leading global specialists in identity data intelligence and under their portfolio of identity solutions sat five existing location intelligence businesses – PCA Predict, GBG Loqate, Everything Location, Addressy and GBG Matchcode360. With the new brand, we have combined the best technology capabilities, data and customer service of five of the world’s leading location intelligence brands into one global solution.
We support over 13,000 businesses all over the world in giving their customers a better experience, whilst improving and enhancing data quality. As Loqate, we are the world’s only single, simple-to-use source of the best quality data for over 245 countries and territories, simply put we are now the foremost data specialist in location intelligence and help every business in the world, reach every customer in the world.
Loqate just released the Loqate Internationalisation Retail Index. What is it?
We have created the Loqate Internationalisation Retail Index, in partnership with Retail Week, Planet Retail RNG and World Retail Congress to highlight the best in the world when it comes to international retail. The index demonstrates how the Loqate top 30 have really taken internationalisation to the next level, and analyses the key online capabilities and multichannel strategies a retailer would need to put in place to broaden their global appeal.
What is unique about the Loqate index is that it also provides a benchmark and peer-to-peer review, ‘The Loqate Internationalisation Quiz’. The quiz will help retailers to answer questions such as “How can I beat my competition?”.
In what ways can UK retailers benefit from the Index?
The UK leads the way in customer experience and fulfilment capabilities, demonstrated in the fact that four UK brands sit in the top ten of the Loqate 30. These retailers have honed their skills in customer experience from a domestic point of view, and have successfully translated what that means for their international markets.
There are many factors to consider when expanding internationally; for example, what local courier networks are available? What are the unique differences in addressing formats globally? What are the local currencies and taxes (particularly important when operating in the US)? Most importantly, do you know why consumers around the world buy the products they do, and how does your product or service fit in?
Thinking global and acting local is probably the single most important lesson to learn from this index, this means understanding that your customers, wherever they are in the world have their own unique set of circumstances.
Which UK retailers have mastered their global operation?
UK retail is renowned the world over for its competitiveness, with distinctive brands, products and talent. So it’s little surprise that recent history has shown UK retailers taking their propositions overseas. Within the Loqate Internationalisation Retail Index there are some top UK brands making waves on the international stage and setting the bar high for other UK retailers to follow.
If I had to pick out one UK brand from the index that retailers, anywhere in the world, should look to, as masters of global commerce, it would have to be Asos. Having recently reported in their interim results a growth of 31 per cent in international sales, Asos have successfully leveraged their ecommerce capabilities and global shipping strategies, and combined this with slick social and digital media campaigns to expand and build brand loyalty with millennials internationally in recent years. Asos are definitely one of the top brands to watch when it comes to perfecting internationalisation.
Which global market or region do you think is doing well, and why?
At Loqate, our data shows more and more US retailers shipping goods into Europe. It also shows that UK and mainland Europe consumers continue to buy goods between each other. The Single Euro Payments Area and regulations around geoblocking have helped stimulate this cross-border commerce.
If we look beyond the UK and European markets into the Asia-Pacific region, market places such as Alibaba, are attracting price-sensitive global shoppers helping to drive the phenomenal growth in this region.
Market places are definitely one of the key driving forces behind the growth of retail internationalisation; the top three retailers in the Loqate index are all market place sites, acting as a catapult for unfamiliar brands to make headway with a global audience via a trusted brand.
What are some of the strategies and technology needed to succeed beyond retailers’ local boundaries?
Digitally empowered shoppers expect seamless and relevant customer experiences, across any device, but this needs to be underpinned by personalised information across multiple channels. In addition to the rise in popularity of market place retailers, one of the other driving forces is the phenomenal advances in mobile technology and consumer confidence in mobile shopping – there is now a bigger share of purchases made via smart phones.
Every single one of the Loqate top 30 offer a mobile optimised site, Asos, Zalando and Boohoo generated around 70 per cent of traffic through their mobile ecommerce sites last year.
Amazon, Boohoo and Asos (the Loqate top 3) each deliver to over 200 markets and territories globally and have heavily invested in digital platforms that easily facilitate international orders, offering shoppers options to switch their currency and language, as well as providing international address verification on their mobile and desktop site.
Working with suppliers who can help to create a personalised, seamless and relevant shopping experience, as well as implementing technology (online and in your back-office systems) which helps you to accurately fulfil international orders, is key.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What were your career highlights before Loqate?
I have grown through the early days of GBG when the company had just a £5 million turnover, with 15 people in the UK. Today we are a specialist in identity data with a £120 million turnover, and a team of 850 people operating in 17 countries around the world. Before I took the position as Loqate Managing Director, I completed a number of acquisitions for the business as well as heading up product strategy, working within the marketing and sales operations.
In my role as Managing Director of the GBG Location Intelligence unit, Loqate, it is my role to support our team to realise their full potential by helping to shape their ideas via appropriate investment and the removal of barriers to success. This becomes more of an interesting challenge when operating across multiple cultures but as we continue to perfect our approach, we are greatly encouraged by the results so far. Plus the fact that we are working with some of the best in the business when it comes to international retail is very exciting.