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Selling to international consumers is an opportunity you can’t risk missing. Global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021 and 2.1 billion-plus shoppers are expected to buy goods and services.
You’ve recognized the vast number of growth opportunities available by optimizing your e-commerce store for global customers. But you may be feeling a little unsure about the most effective, legal and sensible ways to do it.
E-commerce managers tend to go too quickly when entering a global market and set themselves up for failure — even the biggest brands. In order to successfully go global, you should take it slowly and use a step-by-step approach. This will make the complexities of selling internationally easier to handle.
Here are some of my best tips to put you on the right track for global growth.
Obtain International Business Licenses
You need an international business license to operate legally when selling internationally. Without this license, you’ll risk receiving huge penalties. To sell in China, you’ll need a Chinese business license and a commercial internet content provider license to be allowed to engage in payment integration and online sales.
Use Google Analytics And Dashboards
You shouldn’t start selling to a global audience without understanding where your customers are coming from. They might not be from overseas at all.
Instead, use Google Analytics or your e-commerce platform’s dashboard to analyze where the majority of your overseas customers are coming from by using the location overview section.
Use Google Analytics to analyze your abandoned checkout metrics. Do you have any overseas customers reaching checkout that bounce when they find out shipping is going to take too long or they can’t pay using their local currency?
Would you be more inclined to purchase products from an online store with product descriptions and checkout pages in your native language, or in a foreign language? Which one would you naturally trust and hand over your money to?
Considering language when going global is key and, yes, this means translating the whole of your store content. You should be publishing content and describing products in the way your audience understands, obviously. Translating content is also great for international SEO if you want to rank higher in international search engines.
You have various options to translate your store: translation apps, automated IP detection and redirect, managing a storefront for language or currency, and hiring a native copywriter.
Accept Multiple Currencies
If you are experiencing customer cart abandonment, it could be because you are not catering to international payment methods and local currencies.
Allowing your international shoppers to pay for your product in their local currencies and preferred payment methods will dramatically increase your international sales. Why? Because it helps to build trust and confidence in your brand. It helps your overseas customers to feel comfortable, included and welcome to do business with you.
Consider International Tax And VAT Legislation
If you are selling to a global audience, it is extremely important to consider the different tax and value-added tax legislation around the world. If you don’t, you may incur huge fines that will be detrimental to your e-commerce business.
For example, in the United States, online shoppers are familiarized with experiencing extra fees for tax and VAT at the checkout and don’t usually expect to see tax or VAT included in product listings. However, in the European Union, product listings on e-commerce sites are legally required to include the value-added tax.
Not only that, but if you were to miss out the additional costs for tax and VAT on your product listings to customers in the U.K., this would be a nasty surprise for them at checkout and they would be likely to exit your site right away. So, if you plan to sell to a U.K. audience (for instance), you should always include tax and VAT in your product listings.
Take Advantage Of International E-Commerce Dates
Going global has the huge advantage of tapping into different e-commerce sale dates around the world. You know about the obvious sales such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Halloween, Valentines Day, etc. But have you thought about Chinese New Year, Singles Day (this is huge in China — even bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined), Diwali in India and more?
When you decide which countries you want to start targeting, take some time research their big sale days so you can adapt your content marketing strategy, marketing campaigns and promotions to benefit from extra traffic and sales.
Partner With International Warehouses And Fulfillment Centers
Finding the perfect international warehouse and fulfillment partner is key to delivering high-quality customer service in each country you want to sell to. Find a trustworthy warehouse and fulfillment center local to your global customers and let them manage global sales instead.
Partnering with regional warehouses and fulfillment centers that are local to your international customers makes international stock control and deliveries quicker and easier to manage.
It ensures you never miss opportunities for overseas sales and your overseas customers will be happy they can deal with your brand in their local area.
Going global with your e-commerce brand is an effective way to scale at speed. It is extremely important to give yourself enough time to undertake customer research and strategically plan. Consider the different rules and regulations overseas. Utilize Google Analytics and e-commerce dashboards to understand where your customers are coming from. Take the time to think about the preferred payment methods your new audience will want to use, and don’t forget about cultural differences like language and different e-commerce sale dates.
April 11, 2019 at 08:23AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs