Monday, July 8, 2013

What to Consider Before Expanding into Global Markets

North America is currently the world's largest e-commerce driver, but by 2014, it is estimated that the Asia-Pacific region will soon be the world's largest market, generating nearly $388.8 billion in online sales.

As e-commerce continues to grow, many online retailers are exploring global expansion of their online business. Ralf Gladis of E-Commerce Times has laid out some important factors to consider when expanding into foreign markets:

  • Local Currencies: No matter how great a product is, if the seller does not make it easy for international customers to pay with local currency, the chance of making a sale is slim. Choose shopping cart software and payment service providers with currency converters and other tools to adapt accordingly. 
  • Communication Channels & Marketing: One of the most important factors to consider when expanding your online business abroad is culture. Research the culture of the market not only to understand how to alter your brand message, but to understand the culture’s purchasing behaviors and communication standards.
  • Payment Guarantees/Fraud Protection: According to InternetRetailer, online fraud cost e-retailers $3.5 billion in 2012. Preventing payment fraud should be a crucial part of your international business plan. Choosing payment service providers with local payment methods and guarantees is ideal, but if that option is not available, be sure to utilize fraud prevention methods with whichever provider you choose. 
  • Taxes, Logistics, etc:  Gladis lastly highlighted the importance of studying logistics, taxes and other regulations associated with each foreign market. Doing so will help calculate costs and other adjustments that need to be made before entering these markets. 

Expanding into foreign markets may be a valuable step toward success, but with success comes risk. Take a moment to check out "Preparing Your Business for Global E-Commerce," a helpful guide (published by the US Commercial Service) for online retailers to manage operations, inventory and payment issues.  

by Samantha Warner
Marketing Extraordinaire