Selling online enables you to sell all over the globe. Your online store is visible to anyone with access to the internet. However many online stores do not use this huge opportunity to scale up sales and reach new markets and potential customers. Why? Usually it comes down to a lack of understanding the cross-border fulfillment.
There are many advantages waiting for you in the new markets, if you’re willing to make some changes to your online store and e-commerce strategy.
Here are six topics to be considered:
1. Make one international online store or open local online stores in multiple regions
Make sure your online store is international in every way: language, currency, delivery methods, payment methods, return policy just to mention a few. Or create a local site for all targeted countries and localise the store to meet the requirements of that market.
One of the biggest challenges with one international store is the payment gateway. If you display your products in a foreign currency, the customer is forced to checkout using the default currency of your location. You can tackle the currency and geographic search visibility by launching additional stores for the countries you really want to target.
2. Improve your SEO and create SEM
If your prospect can’t find you online, they probably won’t be your customers. Search engine optimization (SEO) can be done through many small changes to your online store and product descriptions as well as with content marketing.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is also very important in your selected markets. Traffic to an online store can also be increased with paid advertising in search engines. It might be useful to create a landing page for each selected market with content relevant to that segment, which will drive prospects to the most relevant pages in your store. This requires more effort, but it will increase your ranking in the organic search of customers abroad.
3. Localize your ads to target countries
Social media is probably your biggest marketing channel. It is good to notice, that you should segment your audience in different markets and localize your advertising to different segments and countries. Prepare to take some time to research audience segments and analyze if there are any changes in trends and behaviors that might help you improve your localized ads. You also might want to a/b test your unique selling points to different markets.
4. Offer more payment methods
In international online store sales you might need to add some more payment methods.
It’s quite standard to accept payment forms like Visa and MasterCard, but for some regions you might need PayPal, cash on delivery, etc. For example, in the UK and other European countries, payments through real-time bank transfers, direct debits, and mobile payments are quite common.
5. Add more delivery methods
When you start shipping internationally, you should evaluate wheter you need more delivery methods to meet different needs. For some regions fast, door-to-door delivery is crucial and for some regions, pick-up points are more popular. Remember to update delivery method the information and shipping times of your store.
6. Manage international returns
New markets may have different requirements or legislation on how returns are handled. Make sure you benchmark the online stores in that region. It is good to know the legislation for the region you’re targeting, as well as typical consumer behaviors in that country. For example, in the UK, shoppers commonly return up to 15% of online purchases, but in Germany return rates are much higher. Remember to update your return and refund policies for each market. You need also to establish the returns process with each freight company you are using.
New markets are closer than ever
There is a huge potential for growth when you enter new markets, but remember to prepare for the extra work involved before opening international sales. It may feel next to impossible, but once you’ve done the market research, localized your marketing, organized international logistics and configured online store settings and procedures, it’s just a matter of time until your international sales will grow your business to the next level.
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