The international market has great potential to develop your business. By selling internationally, you broaden your reach to customers increasing revenue and taking your business idea to the next step. How? Your online shop solution provides you with everything you need to start selling abroad: all key trading currencies, integrated payment methods and international delivery options. But before getting started, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind in order to succeed wherever you decide to sell. So let’s get down to work!
1st step: Start by choosing a country or destination
Taking only one country among all possible ones seems like a difficult decision. So let’s start analysing the basics: Is your site receiving international visitors? To answer this question Google Analytics may be the best solution.
If your answer is yes, then we are on the right track. Do you know where most of those visitors are coming from? France? Germany? Spain? Then, these are the areas you probably want to focus on.
What if your business is not receiving international visitors YET? Then, it is time to think of a new business goal and move one-step ahead. But to where? Think in the possibilities of your business, your product and your resources. Perhaps you want to start selling to the Netherlands because it is a closer distance away, or perhaps you prefer to start selling to France because you have professional French skills, or perhaps you consider that you should be selling in Germany because it is a booming e-commerce country.
Anyhow, analysing the markets would be the best answer to make your choice.
2nd step: Analyse the markets
When it comes to selling internationally, it is essential to understand the markets you want to invest in and adjust your marketing and sales efforts to the expectations of international customers.
For that, you should definitely have a closer look at the competitive landscape and understand who might be your potential competitors in other countries. It is advisable for you to understand what their marketing mix, market share and positioning is in order to figure out what you need to do to have a competitive advantage.
Global Market Finder is, for instance, a tool that could give you some direction. It provides insights as to whether one market is growing, saturated, declining or non-existent and enables you to calculate the costs of an Adword Campaign.
Find more info about tools to internationalise your market such as Google Keyword or Google Trends in this blog article.
3rd step: Tailor and localise your site
How many times have you been thunderstruck after seeing an incorrect or strange literal translation on the web? Do not make the same mistake! If the two first steps were important, so is this third one! If you do not adapt your shop for your international visitors, it is very likely that you may be losing them considering they might not even be able to understand your site. So, it is essential to translate the content of your store as accurately as possible to the country you want to sell in.
Adapting your texts to other language must be precise: try to avoid literal translations or online translation tools, as you will risk presenting meaningless sentences and your customers may doubt your professionalism.
Remember that localisation is not just about getting the language right. It involves everything from making sure the content and selling proposition have been adapted for different cultures, to choosing the right web domain and keywords to properly target your potential customers. Google Keyword Planner is a tool that can help you check the value of certain words for different countries and whether these words are good enough to position your shop positively.
In addition, you need to adapt your product prices to the new currency and market as well as to inform on your site about the shipping and payments methods you are offering for that certain country. To get an idea what are the most popular payment methods in some countries of Europe, you may want to read this article from ecommerce News Europe.
It is important to localise your site and your business as much as possible to your new market in order to ease the shopping experience for your new customers.
4th step: Review your new international site
Are you done? Then make sure you have not forgotten anything on your way to internationalisation. Carefully review and test the acquisition steps and try to make a purchase in your shop as if you were an international visitor. Everything worked? Congratulations!
Only one more thing! Do not forget that each country has its own rules and regulations, such as return laws, VAT requirements and advertising restrictions. Make sure you’ve properly understood the differences among countries and you’ve, for instance, adapted the imprint or terms and conditions page accordingly.
Once you have gone through these key points, you are set to start selling abroad. Do not worry if you do not see a high number of sales right away. Starting to sell abroad takes time and should be done slowly but surely. Give it a go and make the step to take your business to the next level – it could even lead to higher revenues too! Good luck!
Recommended article: 8 tips for cross-border success in Europe (ecommerce News Europe)