For global brands, navigating the differences between North American and European markets is an ever-evolving challenge, particularly when it comes to e-commerce.
When Frank Carvalho joined Brand New Galaxy (BNG) as managing director of BNG Amsterdam in December 2020, he brought with him decades of experience in brand marketing and advertising communications across North American, European, and Asia Pacific markets. That wide-ranging knowledge brings invaluable insight to BNG, which supplies global and local services to more than 200 clients in 29 languages.
E-Commerce Leadership in North America and Europe
Carvalho is now utilizing his multifaceted expertise to fuel growth and innovation across these markets. “In the U.S., things are simpler in the sense that you can say, I develop my content, I deliver it to the top e-retailers, and I’m done,” Carvalho said in a 2021 interview. “The complications you run into there are more about volume than anything else.”
The European market, conversely, is defined by its variation: a wide variety of languages, retailers, content formats, delivery formats, payment options, platforms, and more. “Imagine that the 50 states were actually 50 different countries with 50 different languages,” Carvalho said. “Then imagine trying to deliver to different e-commerce platforms in each country, and there isn’t an Amazon in each one, but there are three different Amazon-like companies that are not interconnected at all. This is what Europe is like.
“In Europe, it is all about focused success,” he continued. “Because of the fragmentation of the markets, we help drive clients’ ROI by helping them focus on the products, e-retailers, and markets that drive impactful commerce. Sometimes it is not about being everywhere with everything but about choosing what makes sense for the business.”
Carvalho is always on the lookout for points of meaningful collaboration and cooperation where a global company like Brand New Galaxy can leverage its strong relationships with brands and e-commerce platforms to build bridges and create value for partners. As an affiliate of digital marketing and communications company The Stagwell Group, for example, BNG collaborates with other Stagwell affiliates to bring new e-commerce and production capabilities to the table. This creates a universally beneficial situation for marketers, Stagwell agencies, and Brand New Galaxy alike.
In Global E-Commerce, Integration Fosters Innovation
In both U.S and European markets, brands must get high-quality product content on to various online retailers, but in Europe, they must also closely monitor results and apply any learnings across the disparate channels. Though grappling with a fragmented European market can be difficult, Carvalho points out the positive side: that fragmentation encourages brands to be flexible, innovative and adaptive, and to focus on their priorities.
“Often, when you’re dealing with all this fragmentation across Europe, the innovation is going to come from figuring out how you connect those fragments,” he said. “Where are the possibilities to streamline things to make them more integrated, more seamless, to make the actual work happen more easily?”
An important innovation by Brand New Galaxy is Synthrone, an all-in-one solution for seamless brand communications and analytics. Synthrone provides everything from creative to delivery to data, making global e-commerce, and learning across markets, much easier.
“When you’re looking at running a global business or a regional business, or even just a multi-market business, you need to have a modular platform that sits over those multiple markets so that the decision-makers have enough information to take action,” Carvalho said. “It’s challenging when you’re overseeing many markets to see which market is at what point in their e-commerce evolution.”
For example, Carvalho said, if a brand is doing one thing well in one market, how do they take that learning and pass it over to the next country that’s not doing as well in that area?
“A dashboard that can collect and track a huge amount of information becomes more and more important for the regional-global players to make investment decisions, to make decisions on what works and what doesn’t,” he said. “So, that fragmentation helps us innovate and develop products that help both marketers and us at Brand New Galaxy make well-informed decisions. Our modular and scalable Synthrone platform is one such innovation.”
What Does the Future of Global E-Commerce Hold?
“My career has always pivoted on the latest innovations, on ‘where are the next five years going?'” Carvalho said. “I did that with the development of the internet, I did it with CRM [customer relationship management] and permission-based marketing. I did that with social media, and now I’m doing that here with e-commerce. This will lead to things like AR [augmented reality] and VR [virtual reality] and other machine-learning projects that enhance a marketer’s ability to drive their business forward. It leads us into new areas like gaming, enhanced delivery systems, one-click commerce, voice commerce, and so many things we are exploring with our data science teams. These are all things that I want to be involved in.”
Carvalho is looking five years ahead, but he’s also thinking at the speed of e-commerce, which seems to evolve minute by minute.
“I think the next questions are going to be, how do you make checkout easier? How do you incorporate voice into the purchase funnel within e-commerce? How does your virtual environment integrate with the real environment?” Carvalho said. “There are a lot of areas yet to be explored, and it’s also about how the technology is going to develop into those areas. You’ll see advancements in payment and more competition within the delivery systems. You’re going to look at how you break down silos within e-commerce, and how they are broken down within companies.”
The future of innovation in e-commerce is wide open and dynamic, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted consumers’ online shopping habits forever. “What’s most important for brands nowadays is: how does e-commerce play a role within your branding when you’re launching a product?” Carvalho said. “What does that launch look like within e-commerce? Those types of innovations that smooth out the process, that become more customized, those are going to be the innovations that will last long into the future.”
Frank Carvalho is the Managing Director of Brand New Galaxy Amsterdam. This interview is part of a blog series highlighting the extensive e-commerce expertise and thought leadership throughout Brand New Galaxy. To read more, click here.