NEW YORK: American brands keen on selling products directly to shoppers via ecommerce stores in foreign markets must avoid "cutting and pasting" tactics from their home country, an executive from Puma has warned.

Tom Davis, head of global ecommerce at sporting-goods group Puma, discussed this subject at the Internet Retailer and Conference Exhibition (IRCE) Focus: Brands and B2B Conference.

Given that Puma now runs branded online retail stores in around 30 markets across the globe, Davis is well-placed to offer guidance on a channel that is an increasingly powerful generator of both insights and sales.

"As Americans, sometimes we think it all ends and starts on Madison Avenue, and I think it's really important, once you go global, to take that American bias off, or North American bias off," he said. (For more, including how ecommerce allows brands to get closer to shoppers, read Warc's exclusive report: How ecommerce fills an insights "gap" for Puma.)

"It will cause you to get into traps, because you will enter markets thinking that just because it works here, it will work somewhere else."

Even if elements of the purchase process, like payment systems, are often similar in multiple nations, this should never be assumed. Puma, for instance, has seen far greater usage of PayPal in Europe than the US.

"You may get aspects that work … but design, marketing, the way you set up your teams: it does not work to cut and paste," said Davis.

"It's OK to take the heuristics of what we do here in the US and to take those abroad, but you need to realise that when you go to China or India or Japan, the layouts, the functions, the expectations are much different."

Building on this argument, he added that online marketplaces like Myntra and Tmall – active in China and India respectively – carry far more weight than equivalent platforms in America.

"And there are plenty of casualty stories around the world of big brands from the US trying to go international, especially in ecom[merce], and just failing miserably," said Davis.

"I do believe that's a fact of them trying to cut and paste what they've done here in the States which works very well, and it won't necessarily work in the confines in some of these … larger emerging markets."

Data sourced from Warc