As online shopping is continuing to grow to generate more revenue, many eCommerce businesses are considering expanding abroad and reaching new markets. Although trading internationally comes with particular challenges (legal, regulatory, language, and cultural), the global expansion offers eCommerce companies many benefits.
Related Post: Expand Your Business Through Multi-Channel Marketing
Conquering new and large markets implies gaining access to new audiences, meaning millions of potential new customers and more sales. By going globally, businesses can attract international investment, diversify company markets and outpace the competition.
Before you decide to expand your eCommerce store globally, there are several aspects to consider:
#1 Research International Markets
Since there is a big difference between trading nationally and trading internationally, it is essential to research when deciding to grow your eCommerce business globally. As the eCommerce industry is continuously expanding, new eCommerce markets are emerging, and established markets are reaching new milestones – you need to spend significant time exploring your possibilities.
For example, to sell in Japan, the 4th largest eCommerce market globally, you need to understand what the typical Japanese shopper wants and who the competition is. In addition, it would help if you look at the extensiveness of the market, the economy and the online culture. Doing the background research will help you find partners, reach the most popular marketplaces, and target the right customers.
#2 Invest In A Global, Mobile-Friendly, And Fast Loading Website
For your business to be successful internationally, you need to build a perfect website. You must ensure a well-rounded customer journey in addition to assuring that your online store is rich in content, easy to navigate and functions ideally.
Consider adding a geo-locator to scan the location of your user IP addresses and allow your customer to look at a corresponding version of the website. Include local payments, currency, and fulfillment. Localizing these areas will help you better target visitors from overseas and, more importantly, will instill confidence to buy.
Another important aspect – make your website is mobile-friendly. Statistics show that a large proportion of internet traffic comes from mobile phones. So if your site is not mobile-friendly and potential customers cannot access it or experience difficulties navigating it, they will likely leave.
Keep in mind that a mobile-friendly site leads to a higher ranking on Google, giving you another reason why you should have an excellent website before going internationally.
#3 Upgrade Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Your marketing efforts are a vital component to growing your eCommerce business and winning new international audiences. With this in mind, ensure you:
- Work with locals to ensure effective translation and optimization of your website;
- Strengthen your social media presence;
- Use social media targeted advertising and try working with social media influencers that have a large international following;
- Try affiliate marketing – partner with a blog or famous writer in the industry so they can adequately tailor your message for your new audience.
#4 Offer Many Payment Options
Different countries prefer different payment methods, as it is a cultural thing. For example, Chinese consumers prefer to use AliPay, while USA consumers favor credit cards. Others may prefer digital wallets like PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.
You get the point – the more payment options your website enables, the easier it is for the customer to check out and make the purchases.
Many customers are likely to be discouraged from websites if the shopping experience involves utilizing a payment method they have not used before. To reinforce the sense of security, go the extra mile and list products in local currencies and allow your customers to pay in their local currency.
#5 Secure International Shipping And Returns
International shipping and returns are an unavoidable consequence of offering international sales. Efficient shipping and a smooth and transparent return process are the backbones of an online retail business. To tackle these aspects, consider:
- Building an international shipping strategy;
- As shipping rates for international shipping can be expensive, understand the process and choose the correct courier;
- Displaying real-time carrier fees, opt for having a flat fee dependent on location, or provide free shipping;
- Learn country regulations;
- Implement inventory management software to minimize human errors and speed up the order fulfillment process;
- Make your returns policy accessible and transparent for your customers to follow;
- Be quick on responding to returns requests.
#6 Offer 24/7 Customer Care
As customers view round-the-clock availability as one of the most valuable business assets, it becomes clear that international expansion will require 24/7 customer service. Nowadays, there are several ways your eCommerce businesses can offer efficient day-and-night customer care.
Most convenient is a chatbot, a software application that mimics written or spoken human speech. Others choose to have customer service representatives working in shifts to expand outside of traditional business hours. And some eCommerce businesses are outsourcing their customer service entirely to companies that specialize in customer care.
Whatever option you consider, be mindful that 24/7 customer care is a must since providing your customers with on-demand service and support paves the way towards loyalty and retention.
#7 Examine And Learn About All Legal Requirements
There are many legal issues you need to take into consideration when expanding globally. To name a few: forming new entities or obtaining a business license, tax implications, employee and consultant hiring, localization of terms, data protection, disputes.
So, before you decide to enter a particular market, make sure you are well prepared with all the necessary information since different countries have different requirements.
Even though globally expanding your eCommerce business can be challenging, it is a business decision that is worth making. Following the above-mentioned aspects can help you be more confident in conquering new markets and increasing your company’s revenue. Remember, once you decide and put the work into it, endless opportunities are waiting for you.