Tapping the global market with eCommerce operations
When you run a brick-and-mortar store, geography is a natural limitation – unless you offer a truly unique product selection or deliver an extremely good customer experience, people aren't going to travel from hours away to make a purchase from you. One of the core benefits of eCommerce is that it essentially does away with geographic limitations. Although online operations also brings new challenges, if you're looking to extend your reach globally, eCommerce is the way to go.
As you change markets and incorporate new worldwide regions, it's crucial that you make the right changes to your retail approach. Selling on the web does give you broader reach, but you need to be able to engage that audience effectively to make the most out of your eCommerce operations. Here are three strategies that will help you make the international adjustment.
1. Localize eCommerce operations – don't just translate
When some entrepreneurs enter new markets, they translate their website into the native language. However, translation is not localization, and when you bring your operations into a foreign territory, you need to avoid this mistake, Shop.org notes.
Localization means adjusting everything about the shopping experience to fit the needs of the local population. Of course, this starts with translation, but it shouldn't end there. You must think about the needs of the customers in the new market. For instance, if you sell sports equipment, it might not make sense to offer snowboarding and skiing equipment in warmer climates.
Localization means adjusting everything – from customer service to product selection – to the region you're serving. Every retailer understands their goal is to meet the needs of their customers, they just need to keep that in mind as they expand globally.
2. Using the payment tools that make sense
Credit and debit card usage are essentially ubiquitous when it comes to eCommerce in North America. However, as you expand globally, you may see that customers prefer to utilize other payment tools. You should always look to be flexible and offer customers a variety of ways to pay for goods – this will maximize your chances of security sales.
One report from Worldpay suggests that 83 percent of consumers believe offering a variety of payment options was important, with approximately 40 percent also noting that the right payment choices would encourage them to spend more at retail.
"As could be expected, the importance of [alternative payments (AP)], and the popularity of specific AP can be dramatically different across borders – even for countries that neighbor each other," the report explains. "While Germany, the Netherlands and AsiaPac make good use of available AP schemes for instance, uptake of AP in France is particularly low."
Whether the local populace prefers credit, checks, an online service such as PayPal or any other payment tool, you should always keep their will in mind.
3. Be reactionary
Whenever you put yourself in a new situation, it's important to be reasonably reactionary. You need to respond to your market, fixing mistakes and capitalizing on smart moves. If a certain product is popular, stock more of it. If it isn't moving, scale back. Once you identify an audience, cater to it. Don't keep pursuing a demographic if it isn't responding.
Of course, that doesn't mean changing something the second things go south. Using analytics and data, which can be measured and monitored through eCommerce software such as SalesWarp, can help businesses be reactionary in a way that makes sense for the current situation based on real data.
Expanding globally worldwide can be difficult, but as long as you localize operations, offer the right payment methods and use data to fuel business decisions, you can be successful in new markets.