Global eCommerce sales are growing at a rapid pace, and by 2021, they’re expected to hit $4.4 trillion.
So, if you’re a successful eCommerce business owner, this is the right time to consider selling internationally. If you decide to do this now, you’ll definitely be ahead of your competitors as only 1 percent of the existing 30 million US companies have expanded into international markets.
However, expanding overseas isn’t easy and you probably don’t know how to do it successfully. Luckily for you, we’re here to help with these 9 tips.
Expanding globally certainly offers a plethora of business opportunities, but take a step back and start by researching the market.
Conducting a thorough market analysis will help you determine whether your business will be successful in international markets and whether it’s worth the investment. Otherwise, you’ll be flying blind.
Here are some tools you can use to help you with your research:
- First, use Google Trends to test interest from other countries.
- Look into your data on Google Search Console. Go to the International Targeting report, then click the Country tab to choose your target countries.
- Check out your Google Analytics Audience reports. Geo reports break down key stats as they relate to the geographic location and language of your website visitors.
- Conduct a SWOT competitor analysis in potential target markets. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and it will help you identify any gaps.
Once you have done your research and identified the potentially well-performing markets, select only 1-2 markets to begin with. These markets will be a good starting point to test and, if all goes well, expand.
In addition, don’t invest the whole budget on one change because you don’t know if it will pay off. Instead, try multiple smaller changes, like introducing an international shipping option on your existing website. This will allow you to take the pulse of international buyers.
Once you start making profits from the small changes you’ve made, you can reinvest those profits to grow.
International marketplaces like eBay and Amazon are a great start to test your presence on the global market. These marketplaces have a huge number of customers around the world, so you’ll get access to a broad market to sell your products.
In addition, they take care of logistics – shipping and fulfillment – and provide customer support in the local language, so you won’t have to worry about these things just yet.
If you are serious about expanding internationally, you will have to localize. This means utilizing in-country teams, creating dedicated websites in the selected markets, locally-relevant offers, geography-specific policies, and price lists, and adopting local currencies.
You should also consider building an eCommerce site tailored to the selected international target market. Everything on your site, from offering products based on shopping habits to transactions, should serve to provide a unique and personalized experience for the target location.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the local laws in order to prevent any unwanted surprises.
Give international shipping a good thought because it’s going to be a key element in your success. The best solution is to find local shippers in the target country. Local shipping is cheaper and far more convenient. It will allow you to ship your orders faster and make you more competitive in the target country.
As a part of your localization process, you’ll find out that consumers in different countries have different payment preferences. For instance, more than 65% of shoppers in the USA prefer credit cards, whereas 86% of Chinese shoppers give priority to digital payment methods like Alipay.
So, what you need to do is discover which payment methods are most popular in your target markets. If you don’t allow your customers to shop using the payment method they prefer, you’re risking losing sales.
M-commerce is on the rise. According to eMarketer, mobile commerce will account for over 70% of eCommerce sales in India and China, and it will comprise more than 30% of the total eCommerce sales in the USA, UK, and Germany.
If you want to keep up, having a mobile-friendly site isn’t enough. You’ll need to develop a mobile app, design a mobile-first site, and personalize the whole experience.
Nike is a great example of a company that gives priority to mobile commerce. In 2006, the company partnered with Apple with an aim to connect their shoes with Apple’s iPod so that people would be able to track their performance, called Nike+. Later, Nike+ was turned into a personalized app built around retention programs and loyalty program cards.
One of the biggest challenges when expanding into an international market is reaching and growing an audience for your products. The solution is – social media. Considering the fact that nearly 3.5 billion people use social media, its power is undeniable.
Start by determining which social networks your target audience is using. You might need to expand into new social networks for specific countries. For instance, people in South America use Taringa which is similar to FB, whereas Russians prefer VKontakte.
Furthermore, use Facebook and LinkedIn geotargeting features to tailor your content and target customers with localized messages.
When it comes to marketing, besides social media, you should also consider collaborating with local influencers to gain a strong following in the new market. They already have popularity and people trust them, so it will make the whole process of reaching a new audience a lot faster. To make finding local influencers easier, use influencer marketing platforms like TRIBE, Speakr, and AspireIQ.
Once you become a proud owner of an international eCommerce business that has seen increasing revenue, you can start preparing your eCommerce website for sale. We suggest partnering with an online business brokerage firm. A website broker will take over the heavy lifting and provide access to an established network of buyers to ensure you get you the best deal and terms.