When globalisation is on the rise, it coheres with the climb of our online market worldwide. We mustn't forget the helping hand of the pandemic has to warranted the surge. In the here and now, selling online has added another dimension, trading across borders! #theskyisthelimit
Good old pandemic. You see, there’s always a silver lining..
Time to focus on the international markets, the pros and cons, with specific strategies that will help you get your product on the worldwide market. Let's dive in shall we..?
What even is International eCommerce?
A quick encore for the outbreak of COVID-19 as it truly has pioneered the increasing climb of International eCommerce. It’s been said that almost one-third of online shoppers have made purchases online from retailers located in other countries. So ‘International eCommerce, what's the crack? What’s your objective..?'
In Lehmans terms, International eCommerce is the approach of businesses siding with selling internationally instead of their local markets, grasping a pool of new opportunities. To name a few:
- Product Diversification
- New loyal audience acquisition
- Extended brand recognition
Wowie, so much growth and opportunity just presented itself.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Make sure you go through this survival kit checklist on international eCommerce operation must haves before deep sea diving into any premature mishaps:
- Acknowledged in your local market
- Researched the risks associated with international online retail
- Concrete goals for your global expansion
- Set countries for expansion
- Acquainted with the cultural specifics of the targeted markets
- Your product is appropriate for set markets
- Examined some prospective international partners
- Quantified budget for this project.
- If selling internationally doesn't work out, that you have financial backing to recover.
How to sell internationally online
Truth be told, there aren’t many underlying differences between an international eCommerce and a local one. One can not ignore that there are certain country-specific regulations but not enough to shake you off your path.
Let’s take a peep at the fundamental steps needed to make your online international business a successful one.
Two heads are better than one..
When joining the major league of running a global eCommerce business, you will want to consider joining up with the giants; Amazon, Alibaba, or eBay. Joining up with such giants can help for better brand visibility across foreign markets. You have to take into account that not every product will be appropriate for these global vendors. There are certain policies you will need to fulfill in order to become their selling partner. However, joining one or several of the recognised online marketplaces is the easiest way up to the worldwide online market.
If you choose to continue your journey into international eCommerce solo, you will definitely have more freedom, but with that comes more responsibility. You will have to be 'on the ball' with your:
- Customer service
- ‘All things logistics’ connected to your global operations
Be wise to not overlook both sides!
Transaction and localization services
Plain and simple, sell globally while remaining in touch with local realities. Easiest way to do that is to hire dedicated local teams to take care of:
- Correct translations
- Product presentations
- Marketing etc..
One can imagine it starts to get expensive and time-consuming. A number of online business owners choose to have full control of their own operations. Perfectionists…(eye roll)
Firstly, make sure that your product doesn’t raise any eyebrows under sensitive classification. Meaning that your products must have:
- Distribution rights in all countries
- With the necessary demand to support it
Next steps would be to fund a good translator. Someone who will help demonstrate your product to the local market. It’s universally understanding that customers prefer to shop in their native language. Using Google Translate is just not going to cut the mustard..
Once your wording is in place, be sure you support suitable payment methods for a global audience. For instance, PayPal is not available in every country, yet it might have a substitute.
Finally, it won't hurt to consider investing in local influencer marketing as a part of your content management plan. Having influential leaders that hit your target audience already sells itself..
Global logistics & International shipping
If not one of the most difficult parts to the operation of international expansion. Your product offer has to be optimized for local retail whilst making sure that all the global logistics run smoothly.
It's advised to have various warehouses in deliberate points around our the world to speed up shipping. And of course, you mustn't forget about shipping costs and returns that will affect final prices and margins. The question needs to be asked, 'is it worth it?'. Which countries are beneficial over others in the fullness of time. Do your research, work out the costs, and make an informed decision.
Know your audience, know your regulations.
New place, new rules. The only advice you can give here is to hire a global legal team to help you with localization. You’ll need to have an understanding of legislation of the international market on top of the all the rules and regulations for online trade. As a wise man would say…
The value of Customer Service..
Often not given the priority it deserves, but as you probably know, customer support is central for any business and is the determining factor for client retention and repeat business.
Once again, localization plays a crucial role when selling internationally. Your customer support team has to be attainable at all times during ‘working hours’ of the country targeted. Focus your attention on using platforms that are convenient for your prospective buyers, regardless if you're not proficient with. Remember, it’s always encouraged to go domestic…
Fundamentally, you need to speak your ‘customers' language’. Otherwise, you face the danger of your entire international eCommerce operation to burn and crumble..
If thats not enough and your in need of some facts and figures, head here to the latest stats on all things online retail.
In the end..
International eCommerce is an ideal way to scale your online store. But as they say, there is no risk without reward. But you do have to ask yourself.. ‘Is this going to be of value..’
Inherently, if you're looking to grow, reaching new sales across new markets over international borders is the way to do it. Do the research and trust your gut and trust the process..