So you feel you have conquered your domestic market and want to see if business can pick up internationally? There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to expand your horizons and cast your net further afar; however, just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. There is a lot that goes into increasing your business internationally and having the proper framework inlace before jumping in feet first will put you in a better position to make this as successful as possible.
With this in mind, what do you need to know before taking your online business to international customers?
Table of Contents
- Research The Global Market
- Get Familiar with Cross Country Selling Practises
- Pricing and Currency
- Prepare your Brand and Website
Research The Global Market
You need to research the market and find out if what you sell has a market. Some things like digital services, software, and clothing are universally consumed, so this won’t be too hard to determine. If you’re in a niche industry, you need to find out if people buy what you sell in the locations you want to move into and what type of market there is. Market research and SWOT analysis are vital here to help you get a better understanding of what to expect, how you can perform, and where your weaknesses are.
You also need to find out how much people are willing to pay for your products and services and know the average price of items similar. Google Trends and Adwords can enlighten you here and give you an idea of what people are searching for and the price points they are buying at.
Get Familiar with Cross Country Selling Practises
You need to make yourself familiar with the standards and etiquette of the country you want to do business in. What is considered acceptable, what language or symbols are deemed offensive, what legal compliance do you need to meet to sell your products, and what products are deemed illegal? There are certain countries where you cannot sell CBD, for example, and cannabis is still illegal in many countries despite its legality in some US states. The laws that apply in your home country will differ significantly, and knowing what is and isn’t acceptable or is legal can help you avoid cultural faux pas or landing yourself in hot water with the law.
Pricing and Currency
You need to account for fluctuations in currency when figuring out your pricing. What is standard in the US might be underpriced in a different country or too expensive by local standards.
Use online currency converters to find out the equivalent pricing in the country you are moving into or countries, and allow for a more dynamic pricing structure to account for this. You also need to know the average cost of your products and what competitors or local businesses are selling to see what your profit margin will be; this includes shipping costs and any extra packaging required to meet requirements for international shipping. Failing to do this can lead to you losing money or pricing yourself out of the market altogether.
Your payment processor needs to be able to accept international payments, and understanding intelligent payment routing means you can use a payment gateway that offers you and your international customers a better experience as payments are processed quickly and offer you lower costs and more satisfied customers.
Prepare your Brand and Website
It’s not enough to expect that your current brand and website can easily accommodate international visitors and sales. Is your brand name easy to pronounce in different languages, does it translate well, and isn’t offensive intentionally or unintentionally? You need to have it easy to roll off the tongue and make sense when translated into different languages; Coca-Cola is a prime example of this in China.
Your website also needs to be accommodating to new customers and should include multiple languages and be easy to translate via Google Translate, so it makes sense in different languages. This might mean you need to tweak some wording, remove local dialect and slang, and work with writers who are experts in creating copy for easy translation on websites so you do not lose the meaning of the site or the accuracy of descriptions.
Preparing your website and company for doing internal business isn’t something that should be done quickly or without proper thought or planning. You need to make sure that not only is there a market for what you offer but that you can meet local laws and standards to allow you to trade legally. Doing your research here is vital, as is understanding the market and what it means to you when you take this next step. Done correctly, moving to an international audience can do wonders for your company.