| Harvard Business Review
Retail Doesn't Cross Borders: Here's Why and What to Do about It
Most companies assume that the easiest way to grow is by investing overseas and that the developing world offers the best opportunities for boosting revenues and profits today. However, success abroad varies widely, and research shows that it's often tough to increase profits by investing abroad. A new study of the grocery retail industry reveals that with a few exceptions globalization's benefits have not accrued to retailers. Local retailers dominate most countries, and international players are absent from the largest retail markets. Moreover, every retailer that has ventured overseas has failed as often as it has succeeded. On average, the extent of internationalization doesn't have a significant effect on either retailers' revenue growth rates or profit margins. Rather, it's the home market's growth that is the primary driver of profit margins and sales growth. A few retailers have succeeded in going global by developing strategies that apply four retail-specific rules for globalization. Rule 1: The home market is the linchpin. Retailers can generate the resources they need to go global by applying innovative growth strategies at home. Rule 2: Always bring something new to market. Without an element of novelty, it will be difficult for retailers to overtake entrenched rivals. Rule 3: Differentiation is more important than synergies. Leveraging synergies globally and allowing each country unit to adjust to local needs is a critical balancing act. Rule 4: Timing is critical. Retailers would do well to stop planting flags and focus instead on a limited set of opportunities where they can establish operations of scale.
Growth and Development Strategy;
Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues;