Expanding a business for cross-border commerce has never been an easy feat, but the modern tools and resources at our disposal today make it possible for companies of all shapes and sizes to start marketing their products around the globe. Since the number of online shoppers is predicted to keep increasing in the years to come, now is the time for entrepreneurs to start planning their globalization strategies.
Selling internationally is not simply a passing eCommerce trend. Instead, this strategy is becoming a necessity for companies that want to remain competitive and adapt to the ever-changing needs of consumers. If you’re thinking about expanding your own business this year, here are the key things you need to know.
Benefits of Going Global
According to online marketing guru and entrepreneur John Rampton, going global has several advantages compared to selling in just one country. “You extend the sales life of products, reduce dependence on one market, and expand and grow your business,” Rampton explains. “For this effort you can generate more revenue.” Global expansion firm Velocity Global also highlights these major benefits of entering the international marketplace:
- Get ahead of your competitors. Expanding into new markets around the world will give your brand increased visibility and help you find innovative ideas to satisfy the needs of consumers in each region. You may even be able to cut costs by manufacturing items in another country, or developing a new product best suited to the local audience.
- Find diverse global talent. Having skilled workers in each area of your business is essential for success. Everyone from web developers to customer service professionals must do their job well in order to keep customers satisfied and loyal. Going abroad gives you the opportunity to find the best possible candidates to represent your company and give you helpful insights about consumer behaviors in their country.
- Attract new customers. Entering a new market can be an immediate revival for your business if you’ve been in one marketplace for a while. Finding new customers can be a challenge when your region is well-accustomed to your business and products. However, if you expand into a different country, people there may not be familiar with any of your items. With the right marketing strategy, you’ll be able to attract curious new customers and start seeing a boost in revenue!
Key Tips for Entrepreneurs
Making the decision to start selling internationally can come with a whole host of challenges and complications that tend to intimidate small business owners and entrepreneurs. Before considering business expansion, the most important thing to assess is whether or not your company is likely to succeed in international markets. Taking a step back to do an objective analysis of your financial situation and potential popularity of your products in other countries is crucial to avoid stretching your company to the breaking point.
If you determine that you have adequate funds to support your growing business and have located a potential marketplace, you’ll still have to do some careful planning before you can actually start selling. Here’s a basic outline of what your expansion plan should include:
- Do your research. Josh Robinson, VP of franchising and development for Pearle Vision emphasizes that it’s important to notice the slight cultural and language nuances within different countries. "You probably expect differences in laws and languages, so you would hire a lawyer and translator from the country you are moving into,” Robinson states. “But you also might need a local person's perspective to understand how the culture and even taste could affect the market for some consumer goods and services outside the U.S."
- Define your goals. Writing out a business plan might feel like a chore, but it can be detrimental to move forward without a concrete strategy in place. Your plan should include key aspects such as:
- Your short-term and long-term strategies.
- Specific goals and objectives based on accurate data.
- Metrics you plan to measure.
- An annual budget.
- A focused project plan that includes specified due dates for each action.
- Researching the regulations for your specific industry.
- Obtaining the right compliance and certifications.
- Having local commercial agreements.
- Keeping well-documented corporate records.
- Tools to track the multitude of tax jurisdictions around the world.
- Checkout optimization.
- Reliable fraud detection.
- Multiple payment methods.
- Option to switch to different languages.
- Sort out tax, compliance, and legal matters. Before you begin selling in any country, it’s best to obtain and complete all necessary legal documents first. This will help you avoid any potential risks, fines, or other liabilities. You can begin by:
- Ensure your eCommerce site can handle international orders. For best results, you’ll want to optimize your website to meet the needs and preferences of international buyers. You can begin by announcing that your company will start accepting international orders and providing accurate shipping costs, but you’ll eventually want to create a quick and seamless experience for every person who visits your site. Some important features to implement on your site may include:
- Tools to track the multitude of tax jurisdictions around the world
- Checkout optimization
- Fraud detection
- Multiple payment methods
- Option to switch to different languages