When you run an online store or your business has a significant online sales component, expanding into global markets may seem simple, especially if your website already gets lots of international traffic. Sometimes expanding into international markets is a fantastic idea for online businesses. Before taking the plunge, be sure you understand the complexities of selling overseas.
Research The Cost
Expanding globally has associated costs that you may not have considered. Along with international shipping, you have to understand the price of goods in other markets, currency exchange rates, any regulations, international taxes and tariffs, and whether you can compete against local stores offering similar products. Once you’ve researched the cost, you need to create a detailed budget.
Identify Your Market
When you expand globally, your best bet is to fill a hole in the existing market in the city or country where you’re expanding. You could offer something that area has a hard time accessing, but make sure the consumers want your product before you try to fill that gap in their market. Doing market segmentation analyses and a few smaller test runs with certain products is the best way to go before rolling out lots of products to the international market.
Accept International Payments
Accepting international payments is more complicated than it might seem. Because of higher risks and exchange rates, you’ll probably have to deal with higher fees if you want to accept international payments. [pullquote]The merchant account that serves your local business may not be the right one for your international business.[/pullquote] Look into setting up an additional merchant account that will help you with the risks associated with international payment.
Arrange Advertising In Other Countries
The way you advertise in other countries won’t be the same as the way you advertise in the United States. Social and cultural differences, not to mention language barriers, may mean that an ad that works in the U.S. falls completely flat in another market, like Mexico. Consider hiring a local ad agency in one of your major international markets to create successful ads for you. Before you send money to Mexico to pay for the service, make sure international advertising is in your budget and that you have analytics set up that will help tell you how effective the advertising is.
Identify Your Goals
When selling internationally, you need to come up with short- and long-term goals, just like you did when you began your online business. Define specific monetary ways of measuring those goals. You may love the idea of expanding globally, but if you aren’t succeeding in the global market, you need to know when to cut your losses. You also need to know if you can afford to expand further.
Expanding globally isn’t a simple matter, but if your online business fills a niche in overseas markets, it may be an excellent way to get your product to more people. Do your research and set up a detailed plan to enjoy international success.