Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets: Cross-Border Trade and Entry Challenges

Nitesh leads the Marketplace Experience team for INSEA region with a prime objective to provide a seamless experience for Sellers throughout their journey on eBay. He also leads eBay’s Global Shipping platform (EGS) for the Indian market and Cross Border Parcel Shipping Services platform (CPaSS) for the SEA region. Nitesh has an overall 19 years of experience in driving growth & change across emerging businesses.

Explain the function of modern technologies in cross-border trade, as well as the trends that have been seen in the cross-border export environment
Technology has helped SMBs worldwide in ease of doing business, especially by integrating logistics solutions, payments, and marketplace services with the core ecommerce platform. By leveraging the latest technologies, global ecommerce marketplaces are building a strong ecosystem to ensure the smooth interoperability of multiple support systems that have helped SMBs to launch and grow their business in cross-border trade. We have created a plug-and-play model to ensure faster onboarding, self-serve training modules, simplified tools to help sellers expand their geographical coverage, avail marketplace services to enrich their catalog, a shipping platform with multiple logistics solutions at competitive pricing, and a data-driven approach to get them all relevant business insights. Our approach is to provide the best-in-class experience for our Sellers.

Ecommerce penetration in most of the emerging markets has significantly grown post the pandemic, and it continues to grow in double digits

What are the available resources and strategies that multinational corporation strategists can rely on to successfully penetrate emerging markets, and what are the key factors that may hinder the entry of startups into these markets?
From a strategy perspective, it’s imperative to have a strong understanding of the technology ecosystem, compliance & regulatory environment, supply strength, logistics solutions, payments, and trained workforce; these are fundamental aspects on which you build your business.

Ecommerce penetration in most of the emerging markets has significantly grown post the pandemic, and it continues to grow in double digits. This surge has triggered a lot of SMBs over the past 2–3 years to start looking at ecommerce channels as one of their primary sources of income, rather than simply an extended arm amongst their multiple other sales channels. With this shift in mindset, SMBs now have dedicated resources to scale their ecommerce business, they have realized that in addition to domestic ecommerce, there’s a huge opportunity for CBT which is growing faster than domestic ecommerce. This has further fuelled the new seller growth and therefore new supply pipeline for CBT business. Hence, the assortment of supplies i.e. the width and depth is virtually unlimited from all the emerging markets.

One has to understand what’s our RTW (right to win), the competition is now with global sellers operating from 190 different markets, hence we need to be sharp on what’s our focus categories, how are we value-adding to core markets, where we invest our resources, demand understanding of global markets e.g. the seasonality impact i.e. Winters in Australia is from June to August whereas in the USA it’s from Dec to Feb, hence, jackets/woolen clothes continue to sell across the year in different regions), a data-driven approach is key to winning in a highly complex business environment.

For retail exports, understanding compliance and regulatory aspects is of prime importance, and that’s one of the major bottlenecks for new sellers to come on board. Our constant endeavor is to create awareness amongst the seller community across all touchpoints such as online and offline training programs, working with trade associations, and government bodies, leading and participating in various events, etc.

In your perspective, what are the future trends that may be predicted in the Indian cross-border commerce area, and where is the maximum growth coming from in this market?
The rise of Indian SMBs has witnessed significant growth in recent years. With over 63 million MSMEs spread across India, small businesses contribute nearly 40% to India’s exports, about 6.11% to the country’s manufacturing GDP, and 24.63% to the GDP from the services sector. This surge can be attributed to factors such as increased digitalization, and favorable government initiatives like 'Make in India' and 'Digital India'. These SMBs have not only spurred economic growth but have also provided valuable employment opportunities for individuals.

Future trends in India’s cross-border commerce sector also indicate such significant growth opportunities. Indian businesses are increasingly interested in expanding their businesses internationally with maximum growth being shown in categories such as jewelry, auto parts, health and beauty, rugs, leather goods, and industrial products.

To support this expansion, we plan to acquire more sellers in regions like Delhi, Surat, Jaipur, and Punjab. We also aim to strengthen our seller base in South India, with a focus on health and beauty, and jewelry. Moreover, we have also been collaborating with the Indian government and organizations like the GJEPC to boost sales of jewelry. We have also signed agreements with state governments to promote the growth of SMEs.

How is India's export potential and the segment paving the way for the Indian economy?
India's export potential is driving the Indian economy, and the government's initiatives are focused on maximizing this potential. This year’s Foreign Trade Policy, for example, focuses on promoting exports and creating a favorable business environment. This policy aims to support sellers by streamlining trade processes and providing incentives to boost exports. The government has also raised the value limit for exports through couriers for e-commerce to Rs. 10 lakhs per consignment. This step enables more small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in international trade, thereby expanding the export sector and contributing to economic development.

The government is also providing trade benefits such as subsidies and incentives to exporters. These measures are designed to encourage businesses to invest in export activities, promote job creation, and drive economic growth.

By reducing bureaucratic hurdles and enhancing the ease of doing business, the government is empowering exporters to expand their reach and explore new markets, both domestically and internationally. These efforts not only boost India's presence in the global market, but also contribute to the overall development of the Indian economy.

What are some of the primary difficulties that retail exporters confront and how we are attempting to address them?
The Global Expansion Program (GXP) is designed to equip large Indian merchants with the necessary tools and resources to tap into new markets and maximize their selling potential on the platform. Through access to detailed market insights & demand-based inventory planning, sellers gain access to our extensive network of 190 markets and a substantial customer base of 133 million active buyers. The program also aims to empower sellers to achieve global success by providing them with dedicated account management support, training, and education.

The EGS program is another initiative aimed at addressing the challenges faced by retail exporters. It simplifies the complexities of shipping processes by offering sellers an end-to-end solution. It handles all aspects of international shipping, including customs clearance and tracking, enabling sellers to expand their customer base globally without the complexities associated with cross-border logistics.

Additionally, we also have one; an innovative tool developed to empower sellers with a streamlined way to manage their listings, sell items in multiple markets, coordinate orders, and reach a broader customer base. By offering a single platform that enables sellers to import or create listings in bulk, automatically translate listings into local languages, and optimize shipping processes, it is simplifying the selling experience and opening up new opportunities for sellers.

Furthermore, we also recognize the importance of specific sectors, such as the jewelry market, and have launched specialized programs to support sellers in those areas.For instance, focuses on Indian sellers, providing them with tailored resources and assistance to grow their jewelry businesses on the platform.