If you’re in the ecommerce world, you know that this is a booming industry. The annual growth rate in the United States is still around 14 percent, with a lot of room left for further expansion. But did you know ecommerce is seeing even more rapid progress on a global level?
Global retail online sales increased by almost 25 percent in 2017! That means there are huge opportunities out there for brands willing to work on the international state. Here are some tips for building a global ecommerce SMB.
Don’t Shy Away from Communication
What is an ecommerce store? Per Shopify, it is the electronic transfer of data and money across the internet in exchange for physical merchandise. Oftentimes, an ecommerce sales transaction is a fairly hands-off process. This is especially true for sellers that handle a lot of volume. You don’t necessarily want to do this when you’re working with global ecommerce. There’s a lot higher chance for miscommunication when you’re selling products to people in another country.
It doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile in checking in with foreign consumers to ensure that they understand what they’re getting, and how they’re getting it. Surprises can lead to you losing a lot of time, money, and trust.
Keep Consistent Quality
It’s tempting for ecommerce store owners to compromise on the quality of their products when trying to expand to the global level. This might include sourcing goods from different providers in order to save a bit of money. Ultimately, this will probably be a bad idea because you won’t have as much control over the process.
It’s never a good idea to sacrifice the integrity of your brand, especially when trying to work into new markets.
Make Sure You’re Mobile Friendly
You’ve probably heard that mobile compatibility is one of the most important features in the ecommerce world today. That’s because about 60 percent of searches now happen on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Some people might even ask, what is an ecommerce store without a mobile channel? It’s certainly not an optimal one.
There’s a greater point here though when dealing with global ecommerce. In many markets, mobile penetration is even more important to your bottom line. Especially in emerging markets, a lot of people don’t have desktop computers but do have a smartphone. Mobile is essential to developed foreign markets as well. Japan has the highest proportion of its ecommerce conversions happen on mobile of any country.
Research Your Top Potential Markets
You’re not going to successfully sell your goods or services in a new country without putting in some work. This will range from initial research to figuring out how to best sell to people in that place. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Demand: You’ll struggle to break into a foreign market if there’s simply no demand for your brand there. Do a bit of keyword research for that specific country to see how many people are looking for something similar to your offerings.
- Competition: What are other brands doing in that market? You’ll maybe want to learn from some of the things they’re doing particularly well, while still forging your own path.
- Marketing: It’s likely that you won’t be able to market your goods to foreign buyers the exact same way you would in your home country. Do some preliminary work to see what marketing strategies do and don’t work in this new area.
- Know the No-Nos: Every country has its own idiosyncrasies. You need to learn what’s taboo in this new market before you accidentally offend all your prospective consumers.
Don’t Mess Up Translations
A misused word can completely change the meaning of something. You don’t want this to be the case with your marketing and website copy when you’re hoping to acquire new customers. It’s a good idea to hire a professional translator to do this work if you aren’t fluent in the language of this country.
Keep an Eye on Analytics
Of course, you only want to be doing business on a global scale if it actually makes sense for you from a financial standpoint. Check in with your analytics regularly to see how you’re performing in terms of leads and conversions. You can’t expect to get immaculate results overnight, but you also don’t want to dump a ton of resources into a project that just isn’t going to net you any return.
It’s possible for small or medium-sized businesses to succeed on the global level. Developments in the economy, technology, and ecommerce, in general, have all made this more accessible to smaller players.
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