It’s easier than ever to connect with new customers (and generate more revenue!) by expanding into new international markets—especially through online channels. International online retail is where the action is, and where it’ll stay. Here are some tips to consider, when expanding your company’s e-commerce endeavours.
“Know the new local market”.
Every local market is different. What you pat yourself on the back about working great at home is not going to be necessarily the complete roadmap in another market. You must adapt your strategies to local demands and target your shopping experience accordingly.
A strategy that works on the eastern seaboard of Australia won’t necessarily resonate in North America or Singapore. Rethink the marketing strategy and shopping experience for each local market.
Your imagery might be great for Australia but miss the mark in an Asian country who want to see the product working in their culture and geography.
The maze of pricing and tax-compliance strategy.
No matter where you transact, local statutory obligations must be followed, so it’s critical to have an accounting capability in place that gets the nuances, local complexity and workarounds laid out and planned.
Taxes on e-commerce sales can be messy, involving export regulations and additional compliance regulations. Most of all with the pricing needs to reflect local market thresholds and take on the currency impacts. You need to be able to deal on the site by displaying your catalogue in the local currency.
Additionally, make sure prices are in sync with local expectations.
Develop a detailed and proven deployment plan.
An e-commerce rollout in a new region must be accompanied by a proven and detailed deployment checklist that can be adapted to each market. The plan should must navigate how to form the local partnerships that will be needed and provide the guidance to minimise the local traps for new players.
You must ensure all the process owners of your business and in the new region understand their role and the dependencies on each other.
Make sure you have scalable e-commerce infrastructure.
A global rollout strategy generally involves a step-by-step e-commerce rollout, which will be much easier to accomplish at every stage if you’ve got a platform that has the front and back end processes already developed so you can remain focused on the business issues and not get caught up in feature and function stuff that burns cash.
Ensure that the infrastructure offers language and currency features so that you can expand to new markets quickly, without reinventing the company each time.
Don’t forget logistics and support capabilities.
While preparing to launch a new regional e-commerce site and e-marketing operations it is important to carefully build a network to handle local logistics. Include detailed supply-chain and transportation plans based on information from local teams who can walk you through every stage, from order receipt to delivery.
Make sure to provide 24/7 support and consider local teams for customer-service who have local language skills to minimise disruption in your own office and keep customers happy.
The e-commerce site covers local languages and customs.
The first impression of new customers of their connection to your company comes from the content on the company’s website. Don’t think your language and emotional threads of your site will resonate the same in a new regional market.
Language and imagery are always subtle and complex, and context is everything. You are going to need expert help. How many times do we get tentative to transact when a site cannot get its translation right. If they can’t get language and grammar right we think what else will not be right and turn off.
So don’t think you are not going to get the same treatment. So be ready for the expense of maybe a local team capable of converting your message into the right context, grammar and language that resonates with shoppers in that market.