Of course, for every type of business, there are completely different sets of challenges and issues to overcome. A digital, IT or software product can be sold online anywhere in the world, so it may be that language and cultural differences are the biggest barrier to breaking into new territories for them.
Comparatively, for an e-retailer, delivery, fulfilment and logistics could be their biggest headache.
The internet in many ways has made the world seem smaller, since we can reach out to people across the globe in seconds. However, physically sending parcels to another country can still be a challenge.
Below I’ve shared my top tips that I always give to growing businesses hoping to expand internationally.
Show me the money: payment options
Overseas customers want a trusted payment mechanism with a brand they recognise for peace of mind in their transaction. Ensure you accept payments via a global provider, like Paypal.com for example, to give trust signals to your new customer base.
Know your audience
Thinking about why your customers will buy from your company will help you shape marketing messages, promotions and craft your proposition. Are they choosing you because you offer a niche product customers cannot buy in their home country, is it because it’s a certain must-have brand or is it because it is simply cheaper than other options?
Knowing your customers and their purchase motivation is essential for any business. This may vary for each country as you continue your expansion, so don’t stop asking yourself this question.
Shipping costs and delivery options
One of the largest barriers for customers ordering online from another country is the shipping costs, as well as the length of time the product can take to arrive.
I recommend you find a high-quality and flexible delivery partner you can rely on. All it would take is a couple of no-show deliveries and those customers to take to review sites and social media for a bad reputation to breed. For this reason, it’s crucial to get it right from the beginning.
At My Parcel Delivery we have managed to negotiate large discounts on international deliveries to both EU and non-EU countries which make fulfilling orders overseas a million times easier than trying to negotiate with carriers yourself.
Know your prohibited items
There are a number of items which cannot be posted abroad, such as animal products and batteries, as well as restricted items which include desktop computers, lamps and liquids. You can see a full list of prohibited and restricted items in delivery to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law before you’ve even got started. Different countries have different restrictions on what you can ship, so it’s worth making sure you understand whether any of these restrictions affect your product.
Cultural dates and customs
It is without doubt that it will pay off to research customs, cultural dates and even translation issues to succeed overseas. Simple examples are that Mother’s Day is in June in the US, whereas in the UK it’s always in March. If you are an international seller of stationery or gifts, it would benefit your business to promote Mother’s Day on all its varying dates for different customers.