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‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES…’

‘… WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ part six

by Porter Erisman
Published by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250088673
eBook ISBN: 9781250088680
Copyright (c) 2017 by Porter Erisman

Buy the Book


“Told you so,” says John. “It’ll only take a few weeks to get here, and I’ve got a harness I can lend you in the meantime. And if you don’t like the new one, you can send it back for a full refund.”

“But do you trust these fellas with your money?” you ask. “There are a lot of hucksters out there.”

“I pay it cash on delivery. When you get to the American Express office, take a look at the harness. If you don’t like it, you can send it back. Satisfaction guaranteed.”

“No penalty?”

In fact, the wife and I are putting in an order next week. If you’d like, you can put your order in with ours.”

You take John up on his offer and put in an order. And because you are saving money, you decide to add a couple items—a new hand mirror for your wife and a harmonica for your son.

“Keep the catalog,” John says. “I’ll get a new one with the order.” You hear old Lee’s footsteps and quickly slip the catalog into your satchel. “Let’s just keep this between us for now,” John says. “I don’t want old Lee gettin’ upset. I have to see him at church every Sunday.”

Lee comes back into the room with the harness. “I found what you’re looking for,” Lee announces. “Why don’t you come have a look?”

“Thanks, Lee. It looks nice. But I think I may have found a solution. What do I owe you for the lemonade?”

“All right, sir, as you wish,” Lee says with a puzzled look. “Don’t worry—the lemonade is on me.”

You slap a penny on the counter and shake Lee’s hand. He deserves something for the fresh lemonade, after all. “Thanks, Lee. Always a pleasure.”

You walk out the swinging doors, untie your horse, and climb into the saddle. As you ride away, Lee scratches his head and turns to his wife. “He’s a nice fellow. But that sure is a long way to ride for some lemonade.”

THE EVOLUTION OF RETAIL

When we think of the first e-commerce innovators, several names come to mind. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. EBay’s Pierre Omidyar. Even my former boss at Alibaba, Jack Ma. But few people would put Aaron Montgomery Ward on their list. In fact, what I remember of Montgomery Ward from my childhood is a crumbling old department store in a nearby shopping mall.

But Montgomery Ward was the Jeff Bezos of his time. If a TechCrunch Disrupt conference had been held in 1875, Montgomery Ward would surely have been the headliner. His business model was both innovative and disruptive, changing the way people shopped in the American West.

In 1872, the year Montgomery Ward was founded, the United States was the great emerging market of the world. The Civil War was nearly seven years in the past, and the peace accelerated a huge migration from East to West. The original spark for this migration was the Homestead Act, which Lincoln signed in 1862, thirteen months after the start of the Civil War, to encourage western migration by offering settlers 160 acres of public land. To earn the land homesteaders had to pay a nominal fee and live on the property for five years. After that it was theirs.

Before the Homestead Act, only 14 percent of Americans lived west of the Mississippi River. By 1890 that figure had nearly doubled. About 70 percent of the population still lived in rural areas, but the westward expansion helped make Chicago a major hub for the growing railway system. And where the railroads didn’t go, express delivery services such as Wells Fargo and American Express served the western settlements with horse-drawn wagons.

The settlement of the West created an agricultural boom as the value of agricultural products tripled during the last five decades of the nineteenth century. During this period manufacturing became increasingly important, and by 1900 the United States led the world in manufacturing, producing twice as much as England and half of all of Europe combined. Although the diversity and availability of products quickly increased in the coastal cities, such goods had not yet found their way to the homes of customers scattered throughout the American West.

Residents of rural areas typically shopped at the local general store, which played an important part in the social lives of its customers, who had few other gathering spots. The general store was where the shopkeeper dispensed the latest crop intelligence and gossip about neighbors, and men might throw back some whiskey while complaining about the latest goings-on in Washington.

Yet farmers often resented store owners, who captured sizable margins on the products they sold. At the general store flour might be twice the wholesale price. The markup on shoes was 60 to 200 percent. Wool suits cost three times the wholesale price. And if customers purchased products on credit, they typically paid a punishing interest rate of 12.5 percent.

This excerpt ends on page 15 of the hardcover edition.


FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

An insightful, practical guide to e-commerce in emerging markets–and how to profit from their explosive boom.

From China to India to Nigeria, e-commerce is entering a golden era in countries that were long left out of the e-commerce gold rush experienced in the West. If the story of the first twenty years of e-commerce’s growth was set in developed markets, the story of the next twenty years will be set in emerging ones. The rise of e-commerce in emerging markets is being driven by three major trends: widespread internet adoption, a rising middle class, and, most importantly, innovative new business models that serve the needs of local customers better than the models used by western e-commerce giants.

Six Billion Shoppers takes readers on an exciting and colorful journey around the world to visit the next e-commerce mega markets and explore how a new e-commerce boom is opening opportunities for entrepreneurs and global brands alike. Traveling through Nigeria, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, Porter Erisman addresses e-commerce across these new markets and what it means for western brands. He argues that e-commerce in developing countries is revolutionary and will play a much larger role in emerging markets than in the West. With e-commerce in emerging markets entering a rapid period of expansion, Six Billion Shoppers explains how to seize the massive opportunity created by emerging market consumers and provides practical advice on how to ride this new business trend.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

From 2000-2008, Porter Erisman worked as a Vice-President at Alibaba Group, joining the company just as it moved out of founder Jack Ma’s apartment. He is the writer/director of Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Alibaba Story, an award-winning documentary about the rise of Alibaba and its famous founder, Jack Ma. Erisman is also the bestselling author of Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business. An expert on e-commerce in emerging markets, he has consulted to e-commerce companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and has spoken at high-profile industry events in over 30 countries.

This week’s selection ‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ by Porter Erisman appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES…’

;,,, WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ part four

by Porter Erisman
Published by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250088673
eBook ISBN: 9781250088680
Copyright (c) 2017 by Porter Erisman

Buy the Book


“To be sure, creating opportunities for people to more easily buy and sell more stuff won’t save the world. But e-commerce can arguably play a larger role than any other industry in lifting emerging markets out of poverty. The smartphone has done more than put a shopping mall in every consumer’s pocket: it has also put a retail storefront in every entrepreneur’s pocket. Plugging more small entrepreneurs from emerging markets into the global economy will help them escape poverty. Perhaps those successful entrepreneurs will include my attackers in Bogotá.

The story of the first twenty years of e-commerce was about the scramble to serve the developed world’s one billion shoppers. The story of the next twenty years will be even more fascinating, as e-commerce marketplaces from China to India to Africa give entrepreneurs access to an even bigger prize—the emerging world’s six billion shoppers.

CHAPTER ONE

HOW THE WEST WAS WON

“O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a’comin’ down the street, Oh please let it be for me!”—The Music Man

Before you can truly understand e-commerce in emerging markets—and the mistakes it’s already made—it’s helpful to remember how e-commerce evolved in the United States. So I want to go back in time, to the American frontier—an open market if ever there was one.

It’s 1875 on the Nebraska plains, and as you watch the summer sun rise over your wheat fields, things are looking up. It should be a bumper year on the 160 acres that you occupied for five years and finally acquired from the US government. Thank goodness for the Homestead Act, you think to yourself. It’s harvest time, and from now on, all profits from every harvest will be yours.

A rooster crows, telling you it’s time to get the day started. You head outside and secure your horses to a mechanical reaper. You take a seat atop the reaper and grab the reins. With a strong whip and a loud “Yaaarrr!” you set the horses in motion. But before the squeaky wheel behind you has made a full revolution, you hear a loud snap! The horses veer off to the side, and the reaper spins out of control before finally wobbling to a standstill.

Darn it, you think. The leather on that brittle old harness must have broken. You dismount the reaper, examine the harness, and realize the leather is beyond repair. You’ll need a new harness. So you unhitch the horses, take off the harness, saddle up your strongest horse and put the other in a field, and head off on the hour long trip to town to visit the general store.

The dusty road takes you past neighboring homesteaders. Some are out in the fields. Spread across the countryside are a mix of wooden homes and wheat fields, some still occupied and some abandoned by homesteaders who found living off the land too hard or too lonely compared with the bigger towns and cities they came from.

After clomping along a dusty road for an hour, you arrive in town, which is not much more than a small cluster of wooden buildings. You head straight to the general store, a two-story log structure that also hosts the town’s church. After tying up your horse, you walk in through the swinging doors, pleased to see some familiar faces.

“Well, look who’s here!” announces the shop owner, Lee Addison, as you enter the room. You make the rounds, shaking hands with the other farmers, and take a seat in a rocking chair next to an empty barrel that doubles as a table. Gina Addison, who is married to Lee, soon puts a glass of lemonade on the table for you. “This will help you cool down,” she says. “There’s more where that came from.”

“So what brings you to town?” asks Lee.

“Broke my harness this morning. I’m hoping you’ve got one here I can buy.”

“I think I’ve got one in the storeroom. It runs fifty dollars. Let me go check.”

Lee heads to the back of the store and you turn to your friend John Moore, who lives down the road. “Fifty dollars?” you whisper. “I love old Lee, but that’s a lot of money for a harness. Farming is a good living, but in my next life I’m going to run a general store. That’s where the real money is.”

“I know what you mean,” John replies. “Lee’s a good man. But while we’re out there sweatin’ in the fields, he’s sitting pretty here, sippin’ lemonade and making a handsome profit. But ever since I got that Montgomery Ward catalog, I buy my big-ticket items there.”

“Montgomery Ward? What the heck is that?”

John cranes his neck to make sure that Lee’s not within earshot, lowers his voice to a whisper, and pulls out a small booklet with Montgomery Ward Catalog at the top. “Here, take a look,” he says. “I’ll bet you can find that same harness in here for half the price of what old Lee’s sellin’ it for.”

Curiosity piqued, you flip through the book until you come across a selection of harnesses. You’re amazed by the variety: doublebuggy harnesses, single-strap harnesses, long-tug harnesses, plow harnesses, and even goat harnesses.

Running your finger along the page, you come to a double harness. It’s only $25!

_________________________________________________________________

***** TABLE OF CONTENTS *****

INTRODUCTION: A Shopping Mall in Every Pocket

  1. How the West was Won
  2. The Rise of E-Commerce in China
  3. The Great Mall of China
  4. India—the Next Mega-Market
  5. India’s E-Commerce Golden Era Finally Arrives
  1. Southeast Asia
  2. Africa—The Final Frontier
  3. Six Billion Shoppers

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

An insightful, practical guide to e-commerce in emerging markets–and how to profit from their explosive boom.

From China to India to Nigeria, e-commerce is entering a golden era in countries that were long left out of the e-commerce gold rush experienced in the West. If the story of the first twenty years of e-commerce’s growth was set in developed markets, the story of the next twenty years will be set in emerging ones. The rise of e-commerce in emerging markets is being driven by three major trends: widespread internet adoption, a rising middle class, and, most importantly, innovative new business models that serve the needs of local customers better than the models used by western e-commerce giants.

Six Billion Shoppers takes readers on an exciting and colorful journey around the world to visit the next e-commerce mega markets and explore how a new e-commerce boom is opening opportunities for entrepreneurs and global brands alike. Traveling through Nigeria, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, Porter Erisman addresses e-commerce across these new markets and what it means for western brands. He argues that e-commerce in developing countries is revolutionary and will play a much larger role in emerging markets than in the West. With e-commerce in emerging markets entering a rapid period of expansion, Six Billion Shoppers explains how to seize the massive opportunity created by emerging market consumers and provides practical advice on how to ride this new business trend.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

From 2000-2008, Porter Erisman worked as a Vice-President at Alibaba Group, joining the company just as it moved out of founder Jack Ma’s apartment. He is the writer/director of Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Alibaba Story, an award-winning documentary about the rise of Alibaba and its famous founder, Jack Ma. Erisman is also the bestselling author of Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business. An expert on e-commerce in emerging markets, he has consulted to e-commerce companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and has spoken at high-profile industry events in over 30 countries.

This week’s selection ‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ by Porter Erisman appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES …’

‘…WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ part three

by Porter Erisman
Published by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250088673
eBook ISBN: 9781250088680
Copyright (c) 2017 by Porter Erisman

Buy the Book


“In Chapter Six we focus on Southeast Asia, which, after India and China, offers the greatest potential for e-commerce to flourish. But not all the new e-commerce companies in emerging markets are working in their own backyard. Rocket Internet, the company pioneering e-commerce in Southeast Asia, and the one most aggressive in its efforts to do e-commerce business there, is based in, of all places, Berlin. Although Rocket is not nearly as well known as Amazon, eBay, or Alibaba, it has been rolling out an e-commerce empire that spreads well beyond Southeast Asia to Nigeria, Pakistan, and Mexico City. It’s known as a clone factory for starting small companies modeled on Amazon and Alibaba in more than one hundred countries and relentlessly building, through much trial and error, some of the leading e-commerce companies in their markets. But Rocket has also burned through cash and stirred controversy among investors, who are wondering when the payoff will come. Has Rocket pioneered a new model for the Internet as a “venture builder” that quickly and profitably adapts successful US business models for the developing world? Or has it simply led investors astray with salesmanship and a cynical business model based on copying the hard work of others? My interview with a senior Rocket executive provides some insights.

Indeed, e-commerce is booming in Southeast Asia. Indonesia has been the magnet for investors’ money: Tokopedia alone has reportedly raised nearly $250 million to take on Lazada, a company started by Berlin’s Rocket Internet. When I interviewed Tokopedia’s founder, he described how he expects his company to battle Lazada, whose new controlling shareholder is Alibaba. Can Tokopedia, the self-proclaimed “komodo in the jungle,” beat Alibaba’s crocodile in the Yangtze at its own game? And what will the lessons be for other Southeast Asian markets?

In Chapter Seven we travel to Latin America, where e-commerce is beginning to take off after a somewhat slow start. Some of the early pioneers of Mercado Libre, the e-commerce leader in the region, have interesting ideas about why e-commerce expansion in Latin America has trailed growth in China—and why that may be about to change. In Mexico City, executives at Linio, Mercado Libre’s Rocket-backed challenger, think they are poised to win the market in Latin America.

In Chapter Eight we travel to e-commerce’s final frontier, Africa. There we meet Africa’s largest homegrown e-commerce company, Konga.com, based in Lagos, Nigeria. One of the most formidable business assets of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is its optimistic entrepreneurial spirit, quite a powerful force when attempting to overcome political instability and widespread corruption in order to do business.

Much of this book is written like a travelogue, and I want to explain why. In my eight years at Alibaba, I saw a common reaction from investors and Western companies that were entering the China market. They’d spend a lot of time discussing numbers, market potential, and the “what?” of the market. But they spent remarkably little time asking “why?” the market is how it is. I am hoping that by providing some additional texture—of places, the people who live there, and their culture—readers will get a better understanding of the context in which e-commerce is unfolding. It’s not enough to know that China has 1.3 billion people and nearly 500 million of them shop online. I want to help explain how they shop online and why they shop the way they do. That may help you avoid some of the pitfalls that have literally cost businesses billions of dollars as they attempted to crack e-commerce in emerging markets.

You’ll see that I cover some markets, like China, in extensive detail, whereas my discussion of others, such as Southeast Asia, is broader. My goal is not to discuss every detail of every emerging market. Plenty of detailed analyses do that quite well. Rather, my goal is to focus on certain markets or companies to find the broad themes that tell the story of how e-commerce is developing.

You’ll also notice that I’m focusing on e-retail of physical products, not other areas that are often included in e-commerce, such as travel and other services. That’s because e-retail represents the biggest segment of consumer commerce. Once the market for physical products is transformed into e-commerce, other markets, such as online media and digital products, tend to follow.

A quick word about conflicts of interest. Although I have previously been employed by, or served as a consultant for, some of the companies I discuss in this book, I am no longer affiliated with any of them. With the exception of privately held Flipkart, in which I hold a small number of shares, I do not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned in this book.

For some of the entrepreneurs in the book who share a last name, such as Jack Ma and Pony Ma, or Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, I often use their first name, rather than last, so that readers can keep clear which Ma or Bansal I’m referring to.

Although I began this book with the idea of sharing what I had learned about breaking into e-commerce in emerging markets, I realized after my unfortunate encounter in that alley in Bogotá that those teenagers were precisely the people who could most benefit from e-commerce. In China I’d seen how e-commerce empowered struggling villagers by allowing them to sell their products online. And it offered those villagers who ventured to the city entry-level jobs as couriers. E-commerce has provided young students and recent graduates, who might otherwise have been destined to work in creaky state-owned enterprises, an outlet to pursue their dreams, create their own brands, and earn enough money to think about life and ideas beyond the need to put food on the table. It has also absorbed unemployed or displaced workers, giving them a foothold from which to rebuild their careers.

E-commerce has proved to be more creative than disruptive in emerging markets, creating opportunities that otherwise would not have existed, not simply killing old retail incumbents, as it did in the West. I hope that explaining how e-commerce is growing in emerging markets will help accelerate its adoption.”


FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

An insightful, practical guide to e-commerce in emerging markets–and how to profit from their explosive boom.

From China to India to Nigeria, e-commerce is entering a golden era in countries that were long left out of the e-commerce gold rush experienced in the West. If the story of the first twenty years of e-commerce’s growth was set in developed markets, the story of the next twenty years will be set in emerging ones. The rise of e-commerce in emerging markets is being driven by three major trends: widespread internet adoption, a rising middle class, and, most importantly, innovative new business models that serve the needs of local customers better than the models used by western e-commerce giants.

Six Billion Shoppers takes readers on an exciting and colorful journey around the world to visit the next e-commerce mega markets and explore how a new e-commerce boom is opening opportunities for entrepreneurs and global brands alike. Traveling through Nigeria, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, Porter Erisman addresses e-commerce across these new markets and what it means for western brands. He argues that e-commerce in developing countries is revolutionary and will play a much larger role in emerging markets than in the West. With e-commerce in emerging markets entering a rapid period of expansion, Six Billion Shoppers explains how to seize the massive opportunity created by emerging market consumers and provides practical advice on how to ride this new business trend.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

From 2000-2008, Porter Erisman worked as a Vice-President at Alibaba Group, joining the company just as it moved out of founder Jack Ma’s apartment. He is the writer/director of Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Alibaba Story, an award-winning documentary about the rise of Alibaba and its famous founder, Jack Ma. Erisman is also the bestselling author of Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business. An expert on e-commerce in emerging markets, he has consulted to e-commerce companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and has spoken at high-profile industry events in over 30 countries.

This week’s selection ‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ by Porter Erisman appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES WINNING…’

‘… THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ part two

by Porter Erisman
Published by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250088673
eBook ISBN: 9781250088680
Copyright (c) 2017 by Porter Erisman

Buy the Book


“Does this notion seem Pollyannaish? Absent the example of China, it might. But I had a front-row seat during China’s e-commerce revolution, so it’s clear to me that other countries are following suit, transforming both their economies and the way retail is conducted around the world. The boom will affect brands, retailers, providers of logistics, and financial institutions in highly disruptive ways that will become fully apparent only over time.

Just look at where China is today. In 2000, when I joined Alibaba, just as it moved out of founder Jack Ma’s apartment, skeptics told me that e-commerce would never work in China. The reasons they cited were many: Payment infrastructure was inefficient. Credit card use was nearly nonexistent. Logistics infrastructure was poor. Engineering and management talent was concentrated in Silicon Valley. And, most important, they said, Chinese shoppers would never trust online merchants enough to buy products online. Fast-forward less than twenty years, and the figures are staggering:

* China has now become the largest e-commerce market in the world.
* In 2016, in a single twenty-four-hour period, Alibaba’s consumer websites alone handled more than $17.8 billion in transactions, more than the total combined online sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States.
* E-commerce in China now represents 14 percent of total retail sales in the country, compared to 8 percent in the United States. By 2020, e-commerce in China will reach an estimated 21.5 percent of total retail sales in the country.

And this is with only half of China’s population online. We can only imagine how big the market will become as the rest of China moves online.

Since Alibaba’s $25 billion2 initial public offering (IPO) in 2014—the largest in history for any company—China has received most of the headlines about e-commerce. But the China experience has triggered an investment wave in e-commerce in India, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa. This book will take you through these emerging mega-markets to show where they started, where they stand now, and where they likely are going.

To give the discussion historical context, I will begin in the United States, at the American frontier of the 1800s, when retail took root in the great emerging market of its time. Part of the story is how retail’s gradual evolution in the United States made for a relatively smooth transition from traditional commerce to e-commerce, which the giants eBay and Amazon dominated in the early days. The other reason to start with the United States is that the early history of e-commerce in today’s emerging markets has been one of failed attempts to apply US business models to developing countries. Understanding how the US experience skewed early attempts to introduce e-commerce to emerging markets can help us understand why e-commerce in the developing world—and brands and companies there—is growing in a different direction.

In Chapter Two we head to China, the biggest e-commerce market of all. To understand how China’s deep cultural roots have led to a more social approach to e-commerce, we will visit some of China’s remote villages. Then I’ll explain how, after years of Maoism, the opening of China’s economy triggered the conditions that enabled China’s e-commerce to leapfrog beyond that of the West and play a much more important role in China than its counterparts did in North America and western Europe. In tracing this evolution, I will discuss some of the key players, including Tencent, Jingdong, and my former employer, Alibaba.

Chapter Three will cover China’s current state of e-commerce and its likely future direction. China’s market has matured into a more structured one than India’s and Southeast Asia’s, so it provides an excellent window to the future of e-commerce in emerging markets. I will describe how China’s main platforms for e-commerce differ from those of eBay and Amazon. I also will show how Chinese businesses are making the most of the e-commerce opportunity and discuss some of the bigger trends and lessons of the Chinese experience.

In Chapters Four and Five we travel to India, the world’s next mega-market. Mumbai’s dabbawallas (lunchbox deliverymen) provide a great example of how innovative companies are overcoming one of India’s biggest challenges, logistics. When I interviewed the key pioneers of e-commerce in India, they generously discussed their mistakes and their successes, India’s unique challenges, and where its e-commerce may be headed. All the global e-commerce leaders, from eBay to Amazon to Softbank to Alibaba, have made India the center of a proxy war for global dominance of e-commerce, investing billions of dollars in a mad scramble for “the next China.” What they are doing provides a sense of how businesses should be positioning themselves for India’s e-commerce boom.”


FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

An insightful, practical guide to e-commerce in emerging markets–and how to profit from their explosive boom.

From China to India to Nigeria, e-commerce is entering a golden era in countries that were long left out of the e-commerce gold rush experienced in the West. If the story of the first twenty years of e-commerce’s growth was set in developed markets, the story of the next twenty years will be set in emerging ones. The rise of e-commerce in emerging markets is being driven by three major trends: widespread internet adoption, a rising middle class, and, most importantly, innovative new business models that serve the needs of local customers better than the models used by western e-commerce giants.

Six Billion Shoppers takes readers on an exciting and colorful journey around the world to visit the next e-commerce mega markets and explore how a new e-commerce boom is opening opportunities for entrepreneurs and global brands alike. Traveling through Nigeria, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, Porter Erisman addresses e-commerce across these new markets and what it means for western brands. He argues that e-commerce in developing countries is revolutionary and will play a much larger role in emerging markets than in the West. With e-commerce in emerging markets entering a rapid period of expansion, Six Billion Shoppers explains how to seize the massive opportunity created by emerging market consumers and provides practical advice on how to ride this new business trend.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

From 2000-2008, Porter Erisman worked as a Vice-President at Alibaba Group, joining the company just as it moved out of founder Jack Ma’s apartment. He is the writer/director of Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Alibaba Story, an award-winning documentary about the rise of Alibaba and its famous founder, Jack Ma. Erisman is also the bestselling author of Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business. An expert on e-commerce in emerging markets, he has consulted to e-commerce companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and has spoken at high-profile industry events in over 30 countries.

This week’s selection ‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ by Porter Erisman appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES WINNING…’

‘… THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ part one

by Porter Erisman
Published by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 9781250088673
eBook ISBN: 9781250088680
Copyright (c) 2017 by Porter Erisman

Buy the Book


FROM THE BOOK JACKET:

An insightful, practical guide to e-commerce in emerging markets–and how to profit from their explosive boom.

From China to India to Nigeria, e-commerce is entering a golden era in countries that were long left out of the e-commerce gold rush experienced in the West. If the story of the first twenty years of e-commerce’s growth was set in developed markets, the story of the next twenty years will be set in emerging ones. The rise of e-commerce in emerging markets is being driven by three major trends: widespread internet adoption, a rising middle class, and, most importantly, innovative new business models that serve the needs of local customers better than the models used by western e-commerce giants.

Six Billion Shoppers takes readers on an exciting and colorful journey around the world to visit the next e-commerce mega markets and explore how a new e-commerce boom is opening opportunities for entrepreneurs and global brands alike. Traveling through Nigeria, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, Porter Erisman addresses e-commerce across these new markets and what it means for western brands. He argues that e-commerce in developing countries is revolutionary and will play a much larger role in emerging markets than in the West. With e-commerce in emerging markets entering a rapid period of expansion, Six Billion Shoppers explains how to seize the massive opportunity created by emerging market consumers and provides practical advice on how to ride this new business trend.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

From 2000-2008, Porter Erisman worked as a Vice-President at Alibaba Group, joining the company just as it moved out of founder Jack Ma’s apartment. He is the writer/director of Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Alibaba Story, an award-winning documentary about the rise of Alibaba and its famous founder, Jack Ma. Erisman is also the bestselling author of Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business. An expert on e-commerce in emerging markets, he has consulted to e-commerce companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and has spoken at high-profile industry events in over 30 countries.


 “INTRODUCTION

A SHOPPING MALL IN EVERY POCKET

My eyes locked on the knife blade, now within inches of my throat. My attacker’s three accomplices held my arms behind my back, exposing my chest. For a moment, e-commerce was the last thing on my mind. The more important question was, Am I going to die here, in broad daylight, in a Bogotá alleyway?

Barrio!…barrio!…barrio!” Even with my Sesame Street Spanish, I recognized that word. Neighborhood. Clearly, I had entered the wrong one.

My first trip to South America was off to a bad start. I had arrived in Bogotá the night before to kick off a five-city speaking tour, during which I would share my experience of working at Alibaba and observing the e-commerce boom in China. I played it safe at first, crashing in my hotel room despite the tempting salsa music emanating from the bar across the street.

When daylight came, I ventured out along the avenue to the Plaza de Bolívar, a wide-open square lined by Spanish colonial buildings. The entire city seemed to be outside, with kids playing freely in the streets, which were closed to traffic. Maybe Colombia is much safer than what was depicted in all the drug movies I watched when I was growing up, I thought.

The only signs of Colombia’s violent past were the police, dressed in military fatigues and toting rifles over their shoulders. Stationed at regular intervals along the avenue, they were clearly in place to keep the peace and allow pedestrians to enjoy their Sunday morning.

Emboldened by the added security, and eschewing old stereotypes, I ventured outside the city center to see if I could find a path to the top of a nearby mountain to get a view. I passed a yellow church and could hear people singing hymns. From behind the church I walked up a cobblestone path in the direction of the mountain. That’s where I met my teenage attackers.

As their angry yells got louder, the ringleader fumbled to lock his folding knife in place, as if preparing to stab me. I began to panic. “Please! Please! No comprende. No comprende!” I pleaded. I pulled my wallet from my back pocket and dropped it on the ground in front of me. I reached into my front pocket and handed over my iPhone. Although they didn’t seem to actually want my money, I was offering everything I had.

Finally, the attackers let go of my arms and took a step back. The leader scowled at me and motioned with his hand, shooing me away. The message in his eyes was clear—don’t come back. I ran down the hill as fast as I could, cursing my naiveté.

“You must have crossed one of the barrio’s invisible lines,” a local told me later. “There is a lot of drug and gang activity up there, and people know where the boundaries are. People can be killed for just walking into the wrong neighborhood. You’re lucky you didn’t fight back.”

I couldn’t believe how naive I’d been. Personal safety was something I’d never had to worry about in China. This was a much needed reminder that in most developing countries, poverty comes with a fair degree of violence.

Once I shook off the nerves, I realized I might have a bigger problem. The Colombian government had sponsored my trip to spread the gospel of e-commerce and entrepreneurship by drawing upon what I had learned in China. In a country where safety and security were such a concern, could those lessons apply? Just a few years earlier, Colombia was considered a failed state. Narco trafficking had done huge damage to the country, destroying the economy and trust in government institutions.

But at that moment I finally understood the true role of e-commerce in emerging markets: e-commerce had succeeded in China precisely because the economic and legal infrastructure of the country was weak when the Internet was introduced. China lacked the economic, political, and legal institutions necessary for commerce to thrive, and Internet companies and their online communities had stepped in to fill the void.

And why wouldn’t that be true elsewhere? From Bogotá to Shanghai, from Mumbai to Lagos, the weaker the institutions, the greater the opportunity for e-commerce to take root. And just as e-commerce entrepreneurs in China had faced and solved logistical, payment, and trust issues, Colombian entrepreneurs could use the Internet to address local concerns, including safety and security. And as a business community addresses these issues, e-commerce blossoms, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs, multinationals, and customers alike.”

This week’s selection ‘SIX BILLION SHOPPERS: THE COMPANIES WINNING THE GLOBAL E-COMMERCE BOOM’ by Porter Erisman appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

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