The advent of COVID-19 brought amazing opportunities for the e-commerce sector. Online shopping became the new norm, and small e-commerce shops emerge regularly. Shipping may be delayed due to lockdowns and international travel restrictions, but online shoppers proved unstoppable.
If you also run an e-commerce site, this could be the best time for you to reach out to the international market.
You may be worried about the hefty marketing and shipping costs, so before making that leap, note these tips and the mistakes you should avoid:
Make a Plan
Of course, no major business move should be made without a plan. Refer to your business plan again, and use your experience in selling your products through online marketplaces.
However, you need to stress these critical areas if you’re serving international customers:
Start identifying your target market by looking at your internal data. You should see which country people who are already buying your products are from. Expand your reach into those markets further; try selling a specific product to them, for instance, to test if it will appeal to them.
You can also use research tools to specify your target market and find out their demand. If you’re considering a particular country, check if there’s a gap or demand in their market. Learn about their spending patterns and the countries where they buy from. Also, study their buying motivations, impediments, and other seemingly irrelevant but crucial factors, such as culture, taboos, trends, and holidays.
One mistake e-commerce owners commonly make is not setting up the right payment processors. You might be thinking that PayPal is the most convenient payment method for international customers. While that’s true, it could be disadvantageous on your end because PayPal may hold your money up to 60 days, hurting your cash flow.
Avoid this error by researching what payment method your target market prefers. A credit card is undoubtedly one of those, but also consider online bank transfer, remittance centers, and other reputable payment providers.
There are several ways to enter the international market. You can use an existing online marketplace like Etsy, optimize your current website, or build a new website specifically for the country you’re catering to.
But if you’re a newbie in the industry, using an existing online marketplace may be the most viable. It costs lower and allows you to test the demand for your products before shelling out a considerable amount of money for optimizing your website.
Adapt to Your New Market
If you’re optimizing your website, make different languages available, especially for non-English-speaking countries. But even American and British English have differences, so alter your language for British customers, too.
Enhance their experiences, so they would always come back for more. One of their biggest concerns will be the shipping fees, so offer a way to reduce them. Allow the use of your country’s shopping sites, where international customers can have their shipping fees discounted.
Also, be completely accurate in demonstrating and describing your products. You don’t want to be one of those sites that show a large product photo then deliver it two sizes smaller. Refunds will no doubt hurt your income and reputation, so don’t skimp on proper product descriptions.
Shopping online is one of the people’s current obsessions, as it takes their minds off the disconcerting things happening. Serve them impeccably through your excellent products and superb customer service, and you’ll help in keeping their anxieties at bay.