The global shopper is a multi-channel beast.
A global shopper may be a tourist or a business traveler buying goods in exciting cities around the world in shops most probable operated by the very same brands that occupies his local high street. The global shopper may also do his business from his living room by shopping online on sites with strange foreign privacy rules and unusual registration forms.
Being a global shopper is risky business.
For example it’s unbelievable why Oxford Street in London hasn’t been made into a pedestrian street long time ago like any other respectable high street in major cities. But no, global shoppers on Oxford Street are constantly in danger of being hit by a red double-decker bus when crossing the street for a good bargain while looking to the right wrong side.
And how about shoe sizes? Measuring systems and standards around the world is a jungle and as a global shopper you will in 8 ½ out of 10 trials pick the wrong number 42.
Going online isn’t any better.
When registering your home address on a foreign site you are on very slippery ground.
If the site is from the United States, and you are not, you have to choose living in one of 50 different states meaning nothing to you. But there is no way around. My favorite state then is Alaska usually being on the top of the list.
Having a postal code with letters in it can be a no go. Not having a postal code is much like not existing at all.
But don’t give up. As a global shopper you will be able to find sites online with absolutely no clue about what an address looks like. Only thing of course will be the question about if you actually will get your goods or have to settle with the credit card withdrawal only.
A friend who works for an investment bank told me that some time after 9/11 serious-looking people from one of the intelligence services came to their bank to question the management. Apparently, their data analysis system showed that this bank had an unusually high number of wealthy people’s accounts from Afghanistan and they wanted to know who is involved with handling the Afghani clients. The management was puzzled, a quick review showed that the online system required the client to select a country from a dropdown, where the choices were all organized alphabetically, and yes, Afghanistan was preselected (there was no empty choice at the top of the list). The internal users of the system said “yes, for several years we were asking IT to put an empty choice at the top and “United States” after that, but they ignored us”. Needless to say, that ticket suddenly gained IT’s full attention.
Brilliant story Sergey. Thanks a lot for sharing.