Ömer Nart: New strategies should be determined for cross-border e-commerce

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WORLDEF Chairman Ömer Nart highlighted that “new normal” period will create new opportunities for cross-border e-commerce retailers and said, “Turkish companies must transform extraordinary circumstances like pandemic into opportunities. They need to work more on risk management in crisis scenarios. They need to determine new strategies against extraordinary circumstances in cross-border e-commerce.”

Ömer Nart spoke to Deniz Exporters Association media organ DENİB Aktüel magazine. Nart stated that COVID-19 worked the most for the e-commerce sector and said, “In this process, some firms had 1000% growth. Firms were forced to adapt themselves to the pandemic. The number of firms that reached 3 times more penetration numbers in different categories in 6 years compared to the previous year is not low.”

Ömer Nart spoke to Deniz Exporters Association media organ DENİB Aktüel magazine.

Ömer Nart spoke to DENİB Aktüel magazine.

“E-commerce and cross-border e-commerce are growing fast. Therefore, almost all firms were forced to take e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce in their agenda”. WORLDEF Chairman added, “It seems like online customer base gained in the e-commerce will be permanent even if the pandemic ends. Various stores and SMEs including markets and delis that saw this try to list their products on their own e-commerce websites or online marketplaces. We can say this for this process. The developments that were going to happen in e-commerce in the next 10 years happened in the pandemic period.”

WORLDEF Chairman continues as follows, “The other side of the coin, we have cross-border e-commerce. Cross-border e-commerce that paused during the pandemic accelerated again. Firms that see the increasing domestic e-commerce trend are searching for cross-border e-commerce opportunities. In one sense, cross-border e-commerce will be an important actor for retailers to get back on their feet in the new normal period.”

“The number of companies in cross-border e-commerce is increasing.”

Ömer Nart said, “cross-border e-commerce in Turkey is accelerating especially in the last 3 years. Serious government incentives in this field increase the number of companies in cross-border e-commerce. In Turkey, cross-border e-commerce grew by approximately 40% in 2019. In 2020, increase above estimations is predicted. Although closed land and air customs during pandemic had negative reflections on cross-border e-commerce, we predict that this gap will be closed with increased demand in the new normal.”

Nart used the following statement, “there is a cross-border e-commerce from Turkey to various countries. In 2019, the USA, Germany, Saudi Arabia, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Spain are the countries with the highest cross-border e-commerce respectively. The highest cross-border e-commerce product categories in 2019 from Turkey were clothing and accessories, jewellery, shoes, carpets, herbal products and spare parts. But with the pandemic, the demanded product category in cross-border e-commerce changed. Household products, medical products, sportswear, sports accessories and personal care products are demanded more. In this period, life in the home increased and demand for cleaning, technology, entertainment, game and building products increased.”

“Cross-border e-commerce firms must focus on-trend products.”

Ömer Nart said, “cross-border e-commerce firms need to focus on highly demanded products like their domestic e-commerce strategies. For example, firms that added highly demanded product groups during pandemic into their marketing strategies took one step forward in cross-border e-commerce. In textile, there is a high demand for organic and recyclable products from abroad. For example, a firm that sends fabrics abroad with cross-border e-commerce will be behind in the cross-border e-commerce if the firm does not add organic fabrics to the product range. Cross-border e-commerce firms need to focus on trending products.”

In the interview, Ömer Nart said, “pandemic lead to negative things especially in the supply chain. Therefore, firms need to consider alternatives in their own supply chains and look for ways to increase logistic opportunities. Because one of the most important things in cross-border e-commerce is fast delivery. For example, online consumers in Germany are sensitive to fast delivery. You can get another order if the product is delivered in one week! Firms must transform extraordinary circumstances like a pandemic and emphasise risk management in crisis scenarios. They need to determine new strategies against extraordinary circumstances in cross-border e-commerce.”

“Cross-border e-commerce is the safe harbour of the firms.”

Ömer Nart highlighted that COVID-19 changed the entire commercial plans and an invisible virus can overturn the economies and said, “one of the fields that got most effect from this period is traditional export and electronic export. Coronavirus which was an unpredicted possibility revealed the importance of planning crisis scenarios in the product and service sectors. In this process, firms that completed digital transformation had e-commerce infrastructure and create alternative logistics solutions won. SMEs now understood the importance of digitalisation. Because we have a new normal period and nothing will be like the old normal! In this process, firms need to complete e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce integrations.”

WORLDEF Chairman Ömer Nart ended his remarks, “European countries turned their path from Turkey to China due to strategic position and logistic advantages. The exchange rate is high in Turkey. A 10 Euro product in Europe is 80-90 lira in Turkey. Cross-border e-commerce can be done with Electronic Trade Customs Declaration without customs procedures in traditional commerce.

Turkey has prestige among quality products. Since the labour costs become competitive with the exchange rate, various countries see Turkey as the manufacturing base. Additionally, firms have attractive cross-border e-commerce government incentives. Various organisations and institutions including the Ministry of Trade, Turkey Exporters Assembly (TIM) and Turkey Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) have a positive approach towards cross-border e-commerce. When we add all these ups, we can say cross-border e-commerce is a safe harbour for short, medium and long-term.”

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