Event writeup: How to crack the US ecommerce market

With a more resilient economy and higher consumer confidence, the American ecommerce market presents a huge opportunity for UK brands this year. But how exactly can retailers make the leap across the Atlantic and successfully establish themselves in the US?

Nest’s recent event, ‘How to Crack the US Ecommerce Market – a Nest Matinee’, explored these challenges and opportunities in detail.

Hosted at the Everyman Theatre in Belsize Park, London on 22 February, the event attracted mid-to-large ecommerce advertisers from more than 150 retail brands who gained tips and insights from experts on several key topics, including:

A highlight reel of the day

Ankur Shah on the US market opportunity

Ankur Shah, Founder and ex-CEO of Mahabis, entrepreneur and advisor to Nest, kicked proceedings off, emphasising that UK brands had a once in a generation opportunity to grow by entering the US market. He began by highlighting enticing macroeconomic conditions – not only is US GDP almost nine times the size of the UK, but GDP per capita is 57% higher in the US, meaning consumers feel significantly better off.

Shah explained that consumption remains a cultural cornerstone of the US, with consumers primed to spend online. Indeed, more than 80% of US shoppers have a credit card, while Amazon receives 11 times as much revenue stateside versus the UK. In fact, ecommerce revenue reached $727.23 billion in the US in 2023 compared to $111.03 billion in the UK.

Shah also touched upon the strong logistics setup across the country, as well as its cultural familiarity with the UK, outlining its position as a highly functional, low-regulation, low-risk, fast-growth economy. Further, he looked at the implications of Brexit in the UK, explaining why there is no better time for retailers to shift focus to the US. 

Ciaran McClellan’s key strategic insights

Ciaran McClellan, Growth Director at high performing fashion brand and Nest client ME+EM, also took to the stage to share his insight on the brand’s journey to scale in the US market. An individual with 15 years of experience working with ecommerce with The Cotswolds Co and Long Tall Sally, McClellan was able to offer his knowledge while explaining how ME+EM has achieved a tenfold increase in revenue through establishing itself in the US in the last five years.

As part of his  Q&A with Nest co-founder Luke Jonas, he offered some key tips for UK brands, looking at everything from entry, pricing and discounting strategies to marketing and media costs, shipping and distribution, and acquisition channels. Attendees also obtained insight on the importance of market research, localisation and strategic decision-making to navigate the complexities of entering and expanding within the US successfully. 

Natasha Billing’s successful US market entry playbook

Natasha Billing, an individual that has helped launch several high-profile UK and European brands such as ASOS, Made.com and NAKD.com into the US market, was the third key speaker at the event. A leading advisor to organisations including Nest, she knows brands can develop the right strategies to win in the US market.

During her talk, Billing shared a playbook for successful entry into the US market, highlighting several key aspects for consideration. Specifically, she touched on the importance of understanding US retail dynamics, market entry considerations and marketing principles; leveraging key components such as influencer marketing, multi-channel strategies and the Hallmark calendar approach; and focusing on vital aspects such as service excellence and an optimised organisational strategy.

Billing also pointed out that it’s important to obsess about the metrics. With a clear understanding of the KPIs you aim to achieve in each stage of the funnel, measurement frameworks can be implemented to track progress and success.

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