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Preparing Your eCommerce Business For International Sales

  • Written By Ali
  • Posted February 28, 2017
  • 5 minutes Read Time

eCommerce sales are ever-increasing, with U.S. consumers doing more than half of their shopping online, according to a recent survey by ComScore and UPS. This pattern is reflected in countries all over the world, with many experiencing explosive growth when it comes to online sales. With this in mind, it only makes sense to keep ahead of the game and ensure your eCommerce website is fully prepared to open up to international markets. There are plenty of advantages to adapting your site to be friendly to international custom and the result will likely be increased sales, thanks to the new audiences that are now available to you. We’ve put together a couple of tips on how to make your eCommerce platform international sales-friendly, to allow you to continue to grow in the global market.

Keep Up With Latest Technologies

When entering the international market, you open yourself up to a whole new range of competitors, all fiercely trying to win the sales. This means that you need to simplify your checkout process as much as possible, heightening the user-friendliness of your site and lessening the likelihood of abandoned carts. One way to do this is to offer more methods of payment, as and when they are released. In other countries, it’s not rare to pay for goods online via unconventional methods that we aren’t yet fully used to in the UK, such as bank transfers, direct debits and mobile payments. Additionally, it is important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Many countries lack secure Wi-Fi connections but are ahead of their western counterparts when it comes to mobile connection, meaning that this is a popular way to order goods online.

Increase Your International Search Visibility

Your business and online store is likely to have pages optimised for the local region on which you are based. The best way to rank highly in international searches is to use geo-targeted landing pages. This means creating a landing page for each country and directing the content towards that audience, increasing your odds of appearing in organic searches from customers abroad. In this way, you can customise your content, using specific keywords that work well for different nationalities, allowing you to be found more easily amongst the multitude of traffic in search engines.

Build Your Brand

Now that your brand is accessible in a variety of different countries, it is vital to building your brand to set it aside from the competition. Create a personality for your brand and think about the core values you wish to portray to potential customers. Build your social media and online presence, and be sure to interact with users on multiple platforms, increasing your trustworthiness as a company. Whilst you may need to invest quite a lot of time on this without seeing a return on revenue, the time spent on building your brand will be beneficial in the long run and could be the difference between a successful launch into the international market or a failing flop that brings you back to square one.

Avoid Controversial Taboos

The internet has revolutionised the way in which societies perceive globalisation, resulting in a worldwide platform without physical geographic borders, although this doesn’t come without complications. The attitudes and beliefs of societies all over the world are always changing and every country has a different lifestyle, guided by cultural rules, to follow. This means that something that is just a bit of fun in one country could be deemed highly offensive and even punishable by law in another. That said, it is vital that you avoid any taboo slip-ups concerning the naming or brand marketing of your products. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid controversy and try to be more creative in terms of the marketing, so as to not offend any particular groups. In addition to this, a more general approach to your brand message could be beneficial, as it can apply to everyone, creating a togetherness within your brand, which remains the same, regardless of geographic location.

It’s All In The Delivery

It’s integral that you set achievable delivery times and dates and make them easy to access on your website. Consider the average times for the carriers you use and don’t try and sugarcoat the truth. If a shipment takes longer than expected, customers will lose trust in your business, particularly if they ordered the product for a certain event. It is a lot more beneficial to use realistic delivery times that you can adhere to, rather than raising hopes only to destroy them just days later. In addition to this, think carefully about your returns policy, making sure you are obliged to specific rules in each country.

Speak The Language

If one or more of your target locations speak a different language, it’s a good idea to invest in a proper translator, allowing you to reach the audiences efficiently. Whilst smaller businesses with less budget might utilise tools such as Google translate if you have the financial means an actual translator will make it a lot easier to capture any language informalities that may help to familiarise the new audience and gain their trust. To further accommodate for international audiences, alter your customer service methods and hours according to the time zone, so they can contact you at a time that is convenient for them. To achieve this, consider arranging some kind of agreement with a customer service organisation or organise a virtual assistant to cover inconvenient times.

Taking your eCommerce site to an international scale offers the potential for growth. Although the task may seem daunting at first, once you thoroughly research your desired markets and arrange a plan of action for moving forward, the return on investment will speak for itself. Good luck!