Glocalisation – What is it and Why is it Important?

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According to Wikipedia, glocalization (glocalisation) is the “simultaneous occurrence of both universalizing and particularizing tendencies in contemporary social, political, and economic systems.” Within eCommerce, it relates to the successful global expansion of online businesses.

The following are examples of campaigns launched by some of the world’s largest companies attempting to break into a new market in a region foreign to their primary interests.

Starbucks India

Starbucks opened its first shop in India in October 2012. As beef and pork are considered taboo by many Indians, they dropped such items from the menu. The localised offers Indian favourites such as Chai Tea Latte, and the coffee is sourced and roasted locally. Other food items include baked goods like Konkani Twist or Chatpata Paratha Wrap and vegetarian fare. There are even separate ovens and counters for vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings.


McDonald’s offers novelty items on its menus in Japan, such as the Teriyaki McBurger with Seaweed Shaker fries, Ebi Filet-O, Croquette Burger and Bacon Potato Pie.


KFC in 2010 launched a five-year plan to upgrade its UK restaurants with new contemporary designs based on the ‘look and feel’ of the area’, designed in collaboration with local property developers.

In 2019, the chicken store launched a vegan fried chicken in Europe to much success.


When Tesco expanded into the United States, it changed its store name to “Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market”.

Whirlpool Corporation

Domestic appliance maker, Whirlpool incorporated specially designed agitators into its washing machines when it sold them in India. This helped Indian women wash saris without the five-foot-long garb becoming tangled. Whirlpool formed a joint venture with a local partner to produce the redesigned washing machine to suit local needs. Whirlpool believes in standardizing worldwide what it can and adapting what it cannot.

Taco Bell

The Taco Bell menu in India has crunchy potato tacos and extra-spicy burritos filled with paneer (cottage cheese).

Coca Cola

In 1955, a Coca -Cola advertisement (that was almost 20 minutes long) called the “Pearl of the Orient” shows Coca-Cola’s popularity in the Philippines, and how Coke merged itself into the Philippines economy and culture.

Disneyland in Hong Kong

In 2005, Disneyland was not overly successful in Hong Kong. Disneyland made an effort to cater to the local tastes by reducing prices, adapting to local customs and labour practices and updating decor and settings. The changes were successfully applied to the theme park which saw improved attendance.

Unilever – Marginal Local Adaptation over Total Local Adaptation

In the 1990s, Unilever adapted products to the local market marginally i.e. the basic product would be fine-tuned instead of expensive total adaptation. For example, Unilever identified the need for regional ice cream in Asia and was very successful with its Wall’s ice cream. In 2000, it had a market share of 41% to Nestle’s 15%.

Gillette’s low-cost razor for the Indian market

Gillette introduced the low-cost razor ‘Gillette Guard’ priced at about 15 rupees (<$0.33) in the Indian market. Features included easy rinsing and unique grip design, both adapted to suit the needs of the local market.

Piaggio’s Scooter ‘Vespa’ adapted for the Indian market

In 2012, Piaggio & C. S.p.A., re-entered the Indian market. It adapted its Vespa scooter to suit Indian riders and road conditions. The rear wheel structure was redesigned to facilitate easier tyre changes, the scooter is more efficient than it is in European counterparts (62km per litre compared to 35km in Europe), higher ground clearance, slimmer design and a lower footboard for increased legroom.


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