If you’re part of any small business community there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term “Glocal” or “Glocalization”. I know, it looks like a typo, but I promise it’s not. Glocalization, or going glocal, is the trend stemming from the idea to “Think global, Act local.” The textbooks define it as:
“The adaptation of globally marketed products and services to local markets”
The McDonald’s Glocalization example really shows how a company can tailor their offerings to local tastes.
This strategy is necessary as consumers increasingly want to shop and buy local, and avoid big brand names. With an abundance of research at our fingertips about consumer buying habits it’s easier than ever to understand the mindset of “local” consumers all over the world. Technology has aided in the ability of small businesses to “Think globally and Act locally” by lowering the barriers to entry in new markets.
The Cloud and The World Wide Web
Normally when we think about “going global” we think of setting up a brick-and-mortar store in another country or partnering with a business already successful in that area, but thanks to websites and cloud applications that’s no longer the case.
Cloud applications like Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, and many others make it possible to collaborate with clients and vendors anywhere and anytime. The internet has also given small businesses a chance to be seen from anywhere through their online storefront. With a well-optimized and secure website you can communicate to global consumers day and night. Websites give small businesses the ability to release content specific to whatever locality they are targeting to connect with new customers, serving as a powerful means for even small businesses to target specific audiences on a global level if they so choose. (And if you’re looking for more information on making your website more secure, check out our Website Security webinar.)
Online and Digital Marketing
The introduction of digital and online marketing has really changed the way marketers seek to interact with consumers. The time and costs associated with researching popular magazines, high traffic areas for billboards, and popular TV shows for commercials are not really an option for small businesses with a limited budget. But many small businesses are going Global with Social Media and other online advertising strategies for a fraction of the cost and the ability to reach consumers where they spend a lot of their time… on their mobile devices.
There are many choices in online meeting software designed to help connect people without the cost of travel from one location to another. Microsoft’s Skype for Business and Google’s Meet platform are a couple of popular options. International travel can be expensive and the ability to log in and communicate with vendors and clients face-to-face from your office is a valuable tool for small businesses.
Customer Service Softwares
As small businesses gain clients around the world the need to establish an effective and timely customer service process is important. Unlike many small business customers your global customers can’t come in should they need help.
E-commerce is helping US small businesses go global with retailers like Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify and Etsy. These platforms have made it even easier to export on a global scale.
Ebay found that in 2014 90% of small to medium sized businesses using the platform were exporting. Etsy shows that they have more than 1 million sellers reaching 19 million buyers worldwide. These numbers are continuing to grow as more and more small business realize the benefits of going global.
What are the benefits of going glocal?
There are a lot of benefits to running a Global Company but two of the biggest in our opinion are:
- An increased pool of potential customers. As small businesses enter new markets they are also introducing their product to more consumers. With intentional and well-targeted communications strategies, they could be saying hello to a new stream of customers.
- New points of view. By putting their products out into the world, these businesses are benefiting from new ideas, perspectives, and customer feedback from new cultures and peoples.
As the barriers to entry lower in global markets through the help of technology and online marketing, why not put in the research and extra time to bring your passion global. But make sure you’re keeping your local focus to help remain true to that passion and benefit from consumers desire to shop locally and identify with the products they are purchasing.
If you’re a local small business who wants to go global or start growing in general, know your options and reach out to the multitude of resources available to you especially the ones in our community like the Austin Small Business Development Program, the Austin Independent Business Alliance, and fellow small businesses!