Many online eCommerce companies don’t realize how easy it is to sell internationally these days. Cross-border eCommerce is becoming more and more relevant to small and medium sized businesses. Only a few years ago, this was exclusive to large corporations that had the resources and know-how to expand overseas. But in the “Era of Small Business,” the ability of even smaller companies to reach vast foreign populations has increased to incredible levels. In fact, today, there are barely any barriers to entry into foreign markets except language. It’s the internet that has made this possible, and the internet will be the primary tool of online retailers expanding internationally.
There have been many technological advances over the past few decades, including the mobile phone. These advances have certainly helped enable international business to an extent that wasn’t possible before. But it was only with the internet that companies suddenly had access to instant, high level communication to foreign markets for negligible cost. For the first time, anybody in the world with a connection could view the same website, read the same words, and view the same files. Previously, to establish a business internationally, you would need contacts in that country, and most likely an on-the-ground presence. Now, an English-speaking customer in any country could find and purchase your product with a simple online search.
In other words, it has never been easier for you to sell your product to other countries. So how do you get started? Well, if you want to sell to China, for example, find someone who knows Chinese and create a website for Chinese customers. Keep in mind that whenever you sell something cross-culturally, you need to make sure you aren’t making a cultural faux pas. If you want to sell to an English-speaking country though, then all you need is another page on your existing website for those customers, and a way to get your product there.
It is a common misconception that you need a physical presence in another country to sell there. You can actually ship your product straight from the United States, just make sure you have an online fulfillment service that specializes in international paperwork. If you run an in-house operation, there are certain programs you can utilize offered by companies like UPS and DHL. You will also need to support international currencies if you want to maximize returns.
In general, the more you tailor your site to the locals, the more attractive your products will be to them. That might even include hiring a customer service representative that speaks the local language once you get your international operation up and running. Selling your product overseas can be a huge benefit to your business at very little cost.
Have you considered expanding internationally?