A guest blog from Margin Business https://marginbusiness.com/
Online transactions have become an indispensable part of our lives. Even before the pandemic, eCommerce was growing in leaps and bounds.
Then Covid-19 and the resultant lockdowns changed the world as we knew it. Online sales became a part of everyday life.
The pandemic has added $218.3 billion to e-commerce profits over the past two years according to a report in Digital Commerce 360. And it doesn’t stop here.
The eMarketer Insider Intelligence suggests that online sales will continue their double-digit growth for the foreseeable future.
There has never been a better time for online sellers to join the global eCommerce expansion. The market is expected to grow to $7.385 by 2025 and will make up nearly 25% of all retail sales. eCommerce offers a quicker, low-risk strategy for expanding into international markets.
Still, if you’d like to grow your business and expand into European markets, there are a few issues that you will have to deal with.
- Fierce competition
- Language and localization
- International marketing and promotions
- Customer support
- Shipping and logistics
- International finance
Let’s take a closer look.
In the global ecommerce market, competition is fierce. The internet offers the buyer almost perfect market conditions. The buyer can compare prices across the globe and judge the value proposition accordingly.
To compete in these markets, your brand must stand out and offer the buyer something special. In a ubiquitous market, standing out from the competition can be an enormous challenge. Unless you can compete on price, you’ll need a distinctive product proposition that people are willing to pay for.
Expansion into new markets starts with competitor analysis. You need a full understanding of the product, the prices, and the sellers in the market before you commit. This understanding starts by finding out how your most successful competitors attract their clients.
Before you even enter the market, you should have assessed expected regulatory problems, and import laws. You should also have a pretty good idea of what demand looks like.
Once you have committed to a market or product, it is vital that you analyze sales and revenues. Then make adjustments to your marketing strategy. A global market is a dynamic place and unless you continuously respond to changes you’ll be left behind.
If you’ve been operating in a single country, you’ve likely not come up against this problem in the past. When you go global, you will need a website that speaks in the language of your customers. The look and feel of your website should be customized to local markets. It must also carry prices in the local currency.
Localization includes rewriting the content so that it appears to have been written for the local market. The text must be changed to reflect local preferences and interests. Images, too, must reflect local circumstances. You must also ensure that your listings adhere to local regulations and reflect local units of measure.
In 2014 CSA Research surveyed 3,000 people from ten non-English speaking countries in Asia, Europe, and South America. They found that 60% of the respondents would seldom if ever buy from an English website.
The message is clear. If you plan to pursue global expansion, you will have to localize. Localization is not just about the language. You must also understand the local culture to improve your search engine optimization in the countries in which you sell. Appropriate keywords will help you to rank the search engines, increasing traffic and enhancing the bottom line.
Even if your brand is well-known in your home market, you may have to build a new marketing campaign from the ground up in each of your foreign markets. Analyze and understand the habits and preferences of your new target market. Only then can you launch an effective marketing campaign.
Consider the appropriate social media platforms for your target markets. Then localize your content and decide how best to deliver your marketing messages.
You’ll need an attractive website to compete in international markets. Keywords optimize your listings to attract your target market. All content including images must be localized to send a coherent brand message. Failure in this respect will confuse consumers.
Unless you offer your customers great service and the sort of customer support that they expect, your global expansion strategy will fail. Great customer service builds customer loyalty. Yet, when you spread across the globe, customer service excellence becomes much more challenging.
You need a plan on how to deal with issues such as customer queries, complaints, and service requirements.
Most websites make use of FAQs and many use chatbots. If you have bot-supported customer service, make sure that the bots respond in the appropriate language. Sensitize them to cultural differences. In some cultures, for example, first name use is acceptable in others it is considered rude.
Returns policies differ from market to market. It is important that you understand the returns policies and preferences in each of the countries into which you expand.
Once you’ve established a presence, track your customer satisfaction metrics, and ask for feedback. You can also get closer to your customers and communicate directly with them through social media.
Online shopping means that businesses can grow their global presence without an international presence. Companies today, manage their global expansion through online marketing and advertising.
Yet, Statista reports that some of the biggest problems faced by companies who expand globally have to do with logistics. You can overcome many of these problems by implementing a capable logistics software system. The most important aspect of logistics software is data integrity so you must have a single source of truth. The system must also make it easy for your customers to receive and return products.
It is essential that you find the right carrier partner. Good carriers can provide you with helpful information on the regulatory environment. Today’s customer wants to know where their parcel is every step of the way. Make sure that your shipper offers parcel tracking.
The easiest logistics strategy for start-ups is the use of a third-party logistics company to manage order fulfillment. Once your brand is established you can reconsider your logistics options.
As soon as you deal in international markets currency conversion becomes a problem. Add to this, the complications of import duties and international shipping costs and you enter the increasingly complex world of global financial management.
Credit cards and digital payments have simplified payment problems. Yet, you will also have to take account of the various tax laws including value-added tax. Tax and duties will differ from country to country and per goods categories.
When it comes to tax and customs and excise, it is best to employ the services of a local accountant. This will keep you on the right side of the law.
Never has global ecommerce looked as promising as it does right now. If you’re considering global ecommerce expansion, now is the time.
Know the pitfalls and where necessary find partners who can help you to ease your entry into the markets. Expanding into foreign markets isn’t easy but it’s a sure way to grow your business.
1. What Is The Global eCommerce Expansion?
In recent decades, E-commerce has been the fastest-growing channel, with an accelerating change over years. It is estimated that in 2020-2025 half of the total value growth for the global retail sector in the period will be digital. So, there is huge potential to go global in the years to come.
2. How Can We Expand Our Ecommerce Internationally?
These are the 5 steps to going global.
- Identify the potential of your targeted international market.
- Understand the challenges of selling there.
- Search the market.
- Specify payment methods.
- Launch the business.
3. How Big Is The Global E-commerce Market?
The global e-commerce market is expected to reach a huge $ 5.55 trillion by 2022. It can grow faster over the next few years, suggesting that global e-commerce has become a lucrative option for online retailers who want to scale their business in the future.