Find New Revenue in Underserved Markets

GlobalNimbus' Joseph Bley shares facts about the world of ecommerce outside the English-speaking world, and how to reach it.

Have you considered expanding your digital storefront to connect with international customers? These stats might provide some food for thought:

  • Approximately 55% of all content online is published in English.
  • Only 27% of Internet users actually speak English as a first language.
  • 9 out of 10 web users don’t live in English-speaking countries at all.
  • Nearly 60% of global consumers spend more time on sites in their native language, or boycott English-language websites altogether.

It’s clear that English is no longer the lingua franca of e-commerce, if it ever was. More and more global consumers crave online shopping experiences in their languages of choice. And yet, international markets are currently underserved, in language, by online businesses.

For savvy webstore owners, however, this disparity represents an opportunity. Online spending by global consumers is skyrocketing. According to Forrester Research’s analysis of online global spending, there is massive overseas growth … especially in markets where English fluency is uncommon.

Further, global online customers are making purchases that are well within the wheelhouses of many U.S.-based webstores. According to A.T. Kearney, consumer electronics and appliances; apparel; and media, toys and games some of the most prominent. If your company can ship internationally, you’re already armed with the most-powerful way to connect with these consumers.

Serving these underserved markets can deliver robust results, especially when you’re thoughtful about which markets to serve. Interestingly, we’ve found that our customers can often generate more revenue in less-crowded international markets. Markets with less competition often represent opportunities for new businesses to stand out, and tap existing consumer demand.

One GlobalNimbus customer discovered this by sheer accident. The company—a European online sporting goods retailer—now reports more total sales from Slovakia than from its much larger and wealthier neighbor, Germany.

This doesn’t mean the sporting goods market is larger in Slovakia than Germany, of course. It does mean, however, that Slovakia is far less well-served by other online sporting goods retailers—especially in comparison to the more-competitive German marketplace. Our client is capitalizing on that, and generating tens of thousands in new revenue.

Another GlobalNimbus customer looked closely at his store’s Google Analytics and noticed high levels of web traffic hailing from Latin America. By cross-referencing this geographic data with those visitors’ web-browser language preferences he was able to determine new key markets (such as Mexico and Brazil), and the languages in which to communicate with them. Using GlobalNimbus, the company launched Spanish and Portuguese versions of its retail site.

Mere months later, the company generated 40,000 visits in Spanish and Portuguese, which resulted in an additional $20,267 in sales from those new markets. The cost to acquire those new customers was only $1,800, or less than 9% of the revenue generated by sales.

By embracing an international expansion plan for your online business, and thoughtful identification of less-competitive overseas markets, you’ll do more than serve an underserved audience. You’ll generate more revenue, and build a thriving community of new customers.

Joseph Bley is GlobalNimbus’ Director of Business Development. GlobalNimbus helps Volusion stores sell more around the world by deploying your website, translated and optimized for international commerce. Learn more at