12 Actionable Ways to Expand Your e-Commerce Business Internationally
The e-commerce world is growing. In fact, the US has the second-largest e-commerce market in the world, second to China. With most people already shopping online, you might find yourself looking for a much bigger market as a business owner. That’s where global e-commerce enters the scene. Luckily, the internet makes it easy to start and expand a business. You can also get to know your customers better with the right tools. If you want to expand your e-Commerce business, make sure to follow these tips below:
Understand and Identify Target Markets
International e-commerce selling can be a massive goal. That’s because the reality is that not every retailer will be selling in every country.
Thus, it helps that you do your research. Identify which particular regions your products and brand will perform.
Also, study different markets worldwide. This is to know their consumers and demographics before ultimately deciding whether you want to take your brand there.
Don’t make hasty decisions or simply look at the figures. Research the products you think are popular with your target market, and then decide if that market is feasible to bring in profits in the long run.
Make the Most of the Marketplaces
Giants like Amazon and eBay are dominating global marketplaces, and this won’t be changing anytime soon.
But despite its dominance, the global online marketplace can provide a perfect opportunity for many B2B businesses to grow internationally.
Ideally, they should provide companies with a great starting point to enter new markets and capitalize on the growth. There’s an infrastructure already in place, and you’ll have more access to many prospective customers than ever before.
Moreover, a lot of these marketplaces are internationally known brands that buyers know and trust.
Find the Right B2B e-commerce Platform
Custom-built sites are great. However, B2B companies can scale internationally with the help of the right ecommerce platform.
If you want to go global, choosing the right ecommerce platform plays a defining role in your growth strategy.
However, note that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business. It’s all about finding the right platform tailored to your needs.
If you’re an e-commerce company that wants to scale, you need to do your research to understand better what platform works for you and why.
When you pick the right platform, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards. If you choose an ecommerce platform willy-nilly, this can lead to costly mistakes down the line. You might also want to consider starting a blog for your particular industry. Check out ways you can start a blog and make money like a pro.
If you want to expand your business to the international market, consider how you can localize your ecommerce brand.
And we are not just talking about translating your web content. It is also about making your content and products relatable to the international market.
For instance, the majority of people in developing countries do not have credit cards. Hence, you have to ensure that you can provide other payment options.
Another example would be how the address field in your checkout form looks like. That’s because countries have a different way of formatting their address.
Create Location-specific Campaigns
Whatever international market you’re planning to target, you need to develop a detailed and strategic plan for each one.
This usually involves operational and marketing elements. The complexities of each task make it vital that you scale your efforts gradually. You can start with a single location or region.
You should also develop a specific campaign or strategy for each region. Otherwise, you cannot entice people to buy from you.
This needs plenty of insight and analytical CRM programs that allow you to profile your chosen international market. That way, you can engage with your potential customers accordingly.
This specific approach provides you with enough allowance for local dialects, languages, or cultures. It also ensures that your brand’s core message is translated accurately, making it easier for your customers to understand.
Since you want to maintain a consistent global brand, you might have to make slight changes in your marketing content. You can partner with local agencies to ensure that these messages are accurately conveyed.
Offer Different Methods of Payment
Usually, different countries prefer to use other payment methods.
While people prefer to use credit cards in the US, other countries might choose to use digital wallets like Paypal, Apple Pay, and GooglePay. On the other hand, Chinese customers may want to use a service like Alipay. As for the European, North, and South American customers, they’d prefer payment methods like Stripe.
So, the more varied your payment methods are, the easier it will be for your customers to add items on your e commerce shopping cart, make a purchase and convert. This is important as cart abandonment rates across different industries are around 70%.
Here are some tips to consider when choosing the right payment solution platform:
- Pick the appropriate payment flow. Retailers need to choose the proper payment flow that they can add to their site’s payment gateway. An example of this has an Escrow system, or they’re redirected to a secure, hosted payment page.
- Make customers feel safe and secure. Ideally, the payment gateway provider you choose is certified in following the security standards administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.
- Quick integration process. Choose a payment gateway that makes it simple and easy for customers to make purchases on a site where they can easily pick a payment method.
- Multiple features. It supports text/email reminders for customers, electronic invoicing, smart chargeback management, etc.
Set Up International Shipping Options
International shipping is a crucial element that you need to think of. Otherwise, enticing people from other countries to buy from you will be challenging.
This is also where having a third-party logistics partner can help. Doing so can ensure the efficiency of product delivery. That’s because a customer no longer needs to wait for weeks for the product to arrive from your headquarters.
Instead, you can ship the products that are in your distribution hub.
Understand the Custom Regulations
Because your products will cross international borders, you need to abide by the customs regulations of different countries.
Also, note that there are customs, duties, and taxes on every single item entering and leaving a country. Most countries have free-trade agreements where particular items can be shipped duty-free.
But you still have to know which category a particular item falls into.
Every country also has a list of prohibited and restricted items. With prohibited items, selling these items in this particular country isn’t allowed.
With restricted items, on the other hand, you can get a license from the local authorities before you can ship the item to this particular country.
Have a Good Policy for Returns
Returns play a vital role in any international business. The best way you can deal with this issue is to have a good returns policy.
Make sure that you implicitly state this on your website. This way, your customers are always aware of your returns policy, even before making a purchase.
In addition to that, local fulfillment centers can be beneficial in handling these returns.
Reach Out to Local Influencers
When it comes to international business expansion, social media also plays a key role.
Each social media platform has a set of influencers that let you market your products to a particular region or location. In fact, influencer marketing is a lot more useful than any other marketing strategy out there.
This is because most of these online influencers are trusted by local buyers. Many prospects also turn to them for product suggestions.
So, reach out to different influencers to promote your products and provide you with positive feedback.
You might want to use social media marketing as well, usually in the form of paid ads and content for an entire ecommerce marketing strategy.
Don’t Overlook Mobile Commerce
Mobile commerce plays another crucial role in international ecommerce and the global economy over the next couple of years.
Mobile apps have been increasingly popular and have become a must-have for a lot of ecommerce retailers. Having a mobile-friendly site is also a must.
That’s because smartphone usage has dramatically increased. Additionally, mobile commerce is responsible for a huge chunk of the global economy. So, you might as well leverage mobile marketing for your online business.
Offer 24/7 Customer Care
Time zones are one of the common culprits of failing ecommerce businesses.
Here’s the thing: Your 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM is on a different timeline in Asia. Hence, do not expect your international customers to call your customer support during your office hours. Instead, provide 24/7 customer support.
You can start by hiring customer support specialists that are local in your international market. You can also set up customer support channels that can receive messages all day, every day. This includes email, social media chatbots, and live chats.
Doing so ensures that you are receiving feedback from customers. It is just a matter of setting up a streamlined process to respond and help your customers accordingly.
It is undeniable that we now live in a hyper-connected world. Because of the advancements in technology, we have become more connected than ever before.
This also means that businesses now have more access to international opportunities than ever before.
Nonetheless, expanding your market reach can be tricky. That’s because you have legalities and international regulations that you have to consider. Plus, you should think about how you can make your products and business relatable to the foreign market.
Going international with your B2B company is a giant leap. But it can eventually pay off if you can connect with your audience successfully.
That’s why you need to take the right steps in expanding your business. And the tips listed above can help you start.