The beauty of ecommerce is that it allows retailers to market and sell their products and services all over the world. The UK continues to lead the online market, yet Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium have internet shopping audiences almost as large as ours, offering a whole world of opportunity for those daring enough to brave the international marketplace.
If you’re looking to branch out, here are a few ideas to help make your global venture a successful one…
Buyers are not going to shop on websites that they can’t understand, so to increase your audience it’s important to have your site translated. It’s always tempting to choose the cheapest option and go for machine translations, but these tend to be shoddy and grammatically incorrect, creating entirely the wrong image for your brand. Be prepared to pay a little more and have a native speaker do the work for you instead.
Remember, too, that different images and phrases may have different connotations in different countries, so it’s important to employ someone who can also take a look at your site, and warn you about any content that may be culturally inappropriate to the market you’re targeting.
Finally, don’t forget to display the prices of items in local currencies; people like to know what they’re paying, and most won’t be willing to convert currencies themselves. Instead, they’ll simply turn to another retailer to purchase what they want.
#2: Improve Accessibility
It’s important to cater to your international customers in every way possible, so make sure that international address formats and foreign characters are recognized by your website.
It’s really important to offer payment options that cater to a range of nationalities too. Although many retailers fail to consider the implications of offering a broad spectrum of choices, different countries tend to favour a variety of payment methods. Credit cards are a great example of this, in that they’re highly popular in the UK, but barely used at all in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria or Belgium, all countries where ecommerce is prevalent.
One of the best ways to cater to this international audience is to make sure that consumers can pay via PayPal. PayPal has over 35 million active accounts in Europe alone, and allows trades to be made in 25 different currencies. WorldPay, Planet Payment and Google Checkout can also prove useful for businesses who are just beginning to accept payments internationally.
#3: Refine Your Delivery Service
If you’re selling internationally, then it’s vitally important that you choose a delivery service that you can depend on. Item delays and damages will reflect very badly on your business, so you need to make sure that they’re not going to occur.
Once you’ve chosen a courier service, it’s important to liaise with them to get an idea of their estimated shipping times that you can share with your customers. This is the sort of information that buyers really want to know, and an acceptance of any expected waiting time will stop complaints from your customers arising.
Follow our tips for success and you could find yourself with an international audience just waiting to be tapped into – why not be brave and branch out today?