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Global Growth

Don’t Make These 4 Critical Mistakes in Your International Retail IT Deployment

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As your retail IT operations expand into the international space, there will be plenty of diversions to distract you away from taking the proper action towards longevity. You’ll have new regulations, new cultural norms and new competition to deal with. As you navigate these new waters, make sure you avoid these critical mistakes.

1. Prioritizing New Tech Over the Right People

Most likely, the CRM, accounting and logistics software that you already have can take you into the international marketplace. Modern tech is built to scale (to a degree) and takes a larger view of the world by default.

After all, any company that is looking to supplement its operations with this type of software is probably already doing some sort of international business, even if it’s just one item in the supply chain. If you have a choice, pick specialists who can tweak your old software toys rather than wasting money on new ones.

2. Prioritizing Growth Over Your Longstanding Battle Plan

Globalization is more than a pithy buzzword — it’s a drug. It can be quite the rush to explain how you have expanded into India ahead of your industry at the cocktail party. However, are you covering your margins there? Are you moving into these markets on a whim, following the CNBC crowd, or is your move based on verifiable data that your target market will meet you when you land?

Stable growth also relies on your ability to deliver retail solutions based on trends in the international market rather than in any particular market. For instance, if you’re trying to expand into India, odds are that you will need the same retail IT deployment as some other emerging market in the area.

To optimize your growth, you should look for people who can define a solution for "East Asian trade" rather than "solutions for India." This gives you a long term battle plan and keeps you from changing your infrastructure every time you want to expand.

3. Forgetting About Your Market Share at Home

As the Harvard Business Review tells us, you must keep your position in your home markets to sustain your expanded investments. Finance is screaming at you to take full advantage of the economies of purchase and scale as much as possible. This is all well and good — if you can maintain your position at home.

It may not be as easy as you think to build market share in emerging markets. Don’t dedicate your best and brightest to the endeavor until your due diligence is complete. Fresh & Easy is one example of a company that put all of its eggs in its foreign basket, moving its best execs overseas to take over markets they thought would be easy sells. Unfortunately, a mix of local regulations and an inability to overcome stereotypes muffled success overseas. Meanwhile, the lack of talent back home cost them money as well.

4. Getting the Timing Wrong

Your retail IT staff should be at the head strategy table along with your logistics experts. Only then will you be able to properly time deployment in international markets, taking into account the inevitable delays you will face when dealing with foreign entities and software (even the best software). Waiting too long is also a mistake. Windows of opportunity close, and you need an IT staff that can put the gas on an effort if things need to be sped up.

In short, your IT department will end up playing a much bigger part in your global expansion than you think. You owe it to your business to get the right people on your team. Kinettix is one company that will reach out for you, showing you the right specialists at the right time, so you can focus on your long-term strategy rather than on your next hire.

RETAIL-IT

Chad Mattix

Written by: Chad Mattix

A global IT executive experienced in establishing strategic partnerships for large U.S.-based organizations, Chad Mattix specializes in managed services, contract pricing and negotiation, and the startup and growth of technology services companies. Chad has spent the last 15 years helping large U.S. retailers and U.S.-based IT service providers expand their capabilities across the globe to follow their clients’ expansions. He has developed and completed full entity formations in Brazil and China and has worked with sales pursuit teams in messaging and client-facing presentations. He has also established global alliance and partnership models for multiple global IT organizations. Chad travels around the world to develop and maintain long-term relationships with employees, clients, vendors and partners, which are critical for success.

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