Online shopping has exploded in the past decade. The demand for a wider selection of products, better prices, and convenience has created an entirely new marketplace. However, you may be missing out on a whole other audience if you’re not paying attention to the potential of international customers. For example, according to the New York Times, online shopping in China skyrocketed into a $211 billion business in 2012, making the country one of the world’s foremost nations of online shoppers. There is potentially a hidden customer base you may not even know exists, and if you don’t take steps to make your business accessible to international shoppers, they may never find you either.
Deciding Where in the World to Focus
Expanding your business to include international customers is a complex undertaking. You should take into account what type of cost it may incur: the needs for extra manpower, shipping costs, and any custom regulations on merchandise, just to name a few. Every country has different rules and regulations for commerce, and all of these details should be taken into account. It’s also important to choose a particular place to focus your energies, since the cost of extending yourself into other markets should yield benefits that exceed investment. As you try to decide where to focus your advertising, InternetRetailer.com advises taking into account the state of eCommerce in that particular country or region. This includes the ease of Internet access, available modes of delivering electronic payment, and all the other of the typical systems necessitated by online shopping. There may be a market, but first you have to decide whether it’s feasible to funnel energy into it.
Advertising in the Right Places
Tools to select appropriate internet venues to advertise in are available with many eCommerce store platforms, such as Yahoo merchant solutions, and provide structured guidance on how to increase your visibility. Special advertising packages are usually available that cater to your needs. It’s also worth checking into advertising on particular websites that may attract a more global audience. Social networking websites receive diverse users, but don’t forget that along with appealing to a global audience, you should also consider the particular customer base to which you are appealing. Do some research into the online shopping habits of consumers living outside your country and how they find the items they’re looking for.
Breaking Language Barriers
Once you have the audience, you need to make sure they know what they’re looking at. This is a great reason for why it’s worth looking into integrating a multi-lingual component of your eCommerce business. Offering products to potential customers in their own language not only draws them to your business with ease of access, but also shows that you want their business enough that you’ve customized your online store with them specifically in mind. It’s also a good idea to get used to dealing with customers in foreign languages, whether you need to use the help of a free online translation engine or a service from an eCommerce website. One of the most important sources of information you can use is, of course, from the customer directly.