For new businesses, winning in your local market is just the start. As your ecommerce store starts to scale you should look at options for selling internationally.
Growing your business overseas requires a lot of preparation, research, and planning. Here are our best seven tips for a successful transition to an international market:
Before you aim for a new market, take a look to see if your products are getting attention in other countries.
Are you getting a lot of traffic worldwide? Do you already have repeat customers from places outside the US? Answering these questions should provide you with insights on how to adapt to a new market.
You can look at this using Google Analytics. If you don’t have the tracking pixel installed on your website, you can learn more about doing it here.
Also, do your research to find out if there’s a high demand for the type of product you sell. If there’s a need that’s not met in one country, you can be there to fill that gap.
You can also use Google Trends to see what people are searching.
Make sure that international customers can understand your website in their own language. No one will buy your item if they can’t read your product description.
However, don’t settle for simple translation tools such as Google Translate. You want to make sure to hire a professional translator that can write good ecommerce content.
Otherwise, there may be inaccuracies in your copy that might throw off your audience.
Aside from translating your website, also make sure that your store converts prices into their local currencies. There are many tools on Shopify that help you do this, such as Transcy, for example.
While translating your website is a must, it won’t be enough to adapt to a new market overseas. You’ll also have to research the country’s culture and customs.
For example, selling products made out of ivory is illegal in many European nations, such as Italy. Countries also have different definitions of what they consider “ethical marketing” as well.
Find brands that align with yours that are currently selling in those markets. You can do research to see what they are doing, even contact the brand and ask them what it is like.
As you get ready to scale overseas, start thinking about how you’ll be accepting international payments.
The preferred payment method of the customer will depend from country to country. For example, cheques are still commonly used in France, while German buyers prefer to purchase with direct debit.
Consider adding PayPal as a payment option on your website. The platform makes it possible to take payment from over 200 countries in 25 currencies. It also has a good reputation when it comes to security and purchase protection.
A not so fun part of expanding your business overseas is getting yourself legally ready. Some countries will require specific documentation before you can operate in their territory.
You’ll also have to research how you plan to pay taxes in the country. You’ll have to adhere to both the laws determined by the IRS and the tax authority of the country you’re selling in.
Figuring all of this out by yourself can be a headache. It’s why we help our customers take stress off their backs by taking care of all the documentation needed to ship internationally.
A vital factor to consider as you shift your business overseas is how you will handle customer service. Keep in mind that your customers will be in different time zones and may not speak English.
To overcome these roadblocks, you can invest in chatbot technology that makes it possible to answer customer questions at any time. Another strategy is to hire an international remote team that can provide customer support even during late times.
Make sure you include tracking information for any shipments, as well as posting expected transit times for overseas shipments.
Lastly, your shipping strategy is what could make or break your success overseas.
Unexpected shipping costs can drive your potential customers overseas away. In fact, high shipping costs are one of the most common reasons why customers abandon their cart.
If you’re a small or medium-sized business, however, it can be difficult to find competitive rates on international shipping. There’s also many roadblocks that can get in the way, such as paperwork, negotiating deals with carriers outside the US, and managing international returns.
At Essential Hub, we help take care of international shipping so you can get started selling internationally right away. We have hundreds of connections with carriers worldwide to ensure you get the best rates every time - especially international!
If you’re serious about growth, international markets offer a unique opportunity to scale quickly. It will require careful planning on your end, but the results can be very lucrative in the long run.
Essential Hub can help you transition seamlessly as you plan to enter a new market. Our platform allows you to scale your shipping to multiple countries without having to negotiate rates or hurt your profit margins. Contact us today for a free demo to learn more.