Whether you’re working toward launching your first ecommerce business, taking a new direction in your entrepreneurial career, or looking to expand your venture’s presence into new markets, you want to build an ecommerce brand that will travel well. The global ecommerce market is growing exponentially, with over 40 percent of internet users worldwide making online purchases and the global ecommerce economy estimated at about $1.59 trillion, with more online vendors cropping up across the globe each and every day. Nevertheless, taking your brand international can be a daunting task; many startups fear that global marketing will be unaffordable and the market research too difficult to compile. But putting the effort into ensuring your brand can travel well can be a significant factor in your success.
If you want to promote your company globally without feeling like you’re taking a huge business risk, take a look at some of these tips for establishing an ecommerce brand built for international appeal.
- Analyze your market(s). If you’ve already established a brand presence in your local market, you already know the value of market research and a thorough understanding of your target audience. Since foreign markets are foreign, make sure you’re doing the legwork to understand their spending habits, consumer behaviors, trends and patterns, top shopping categories, and any other details you can leverage to localize your brand’s appeal. When it comes to expanding your ecommerce platform into new territories, it can be immensely helpful to partner with another ecommerce business that already has a sense of your new target market’s landscape. They can provide the most valuable insights into the easiest way to grow your business in that specific local economy. There are plenty of buzzing global markets able to supply a sizable audience, streamlined market entry, and localized offerings to facilitate your move to go global.
- Consider nuts and bolts. While you’re considering supply and demand and target demographics in your new global markets, be sure to also consider other “nuts and bolts” that will factor into your overall cost of operation and likelihood for success. Make sure you consider things like the cost of translation for your website and all your digital content and any legal restrictions that may be imposed on your products (or their ingredients) in other countries. Some countries will also have stricter trade agreements or more highly regulated industries that could affect your ability to do business, and some have high import taxes that could diminish the potential profitability of that market. Get the accounting homework help you need to manage all these nitty-gritty details, as these can ultimately make or break your international business model.
- Don’t price yourself out out the market. According to Entrepreneur, ecommerce brands that want to go global absolutely “must price based on local currency… price points that work in the United States don’t always work elsewhere. Competitive pricing is important in any market — and it’s determined by the local environment.” And you should do more than price yourself competitively and showcase your pricing in the appropriate currency. You should also support each market’s preferred payment method since many customers will abandon products in the cart if they don’t see their preferred payment tool available. For example, 50 percent of Germans prefer using a bank transfer to pay online, but many Chinese customers use an international payment platform called Alipay. It can be difficult to track so many purchasing platforms, but it can seriously affect your business’s scalability.
- Adapt your products and services. There are things you are going to have to tweak regarding your products, services, and marketing strategies in order to appeal to an international audience. Make sure to optimize your website for global buyers, including featuring your ability to serve an international clientele and transparently explaining shipping costs and information for interested customers. Remember that what works in the United States may not necessarily be effective in other countries, so some degree of flexibility is absolutely required to operate globally. Nevertheless, your brand should remain true to itself even as it reaches new markets.
So many of us dream of becoming our own bosses and having the kind of financial freedom to live the lives we’ve fantasized about, and establishing an internationally successful ecommerce brand could put you one step closer to your entrepreneurial (and lifestyle) goals. Whether you’ve always imagined setting up shop someplace exotic like Singapore or you’re just hoping to work with our Canadian neighbors to the north, these strategies will help you create an ecommerce brand that travels well.
What steps have you taken to make your brand more internationally appealing and find success in a global online marketplace? Share your experiences in the comments below!