About two decades ago, international selling was reserved only for big corporations. However, now we are seeing global eCommerce happening at businesses of every size. eCommerce expansion has made it possible for businesses that don’t have billions of dollars, a multinational team, or a physical presence all over the globe to carry out international selling.
The global eCommerce sales reached $2.5 trillion in 2019 and are slated to reach $6.5 trillion in 2023. What does it imply? It shows that the eCommerce future lies in international sales. However, you must approach global eCommerce cautiously if you want to be successful.
What follows is a guide on international selling that’s tailored according to the eCommerce trends. You’re going to find out why you should carry out your eCommerce expansion in the first place, tips on how to do it, and apps that can help you sell worldwide with Shopify.
3 Reasons Why eCommerce Expansion Is The Right Choice
Is your eCommerce business already crushing it in your home country? If yes, then maybe it is time to consider eCommerce expansion into other countries. Why? You will be able to enhance your customer base, scale your business up, and even build up your brand’s recognition. What follows is a list of the top three reasons why some of the established eCommerce businesses went global:
1. The Target Markets Offer Bigger Customer Base
Your eCommerce expansion will lead you from selling in one country to selling in several, thus enabling you to have the chance to increase your customer base exponentially. Furthermore, some of your existing products might perform significantly better in the global eCommerce market as opposed to your home country. This happens because of a larger population, higher demand, or lack of competition.
2. You Get Multiple Brand Exposure Opportunities
Another great reason for carrying out eCommerce expansion is to enjoy international brand recognition. The possibilities are endless once your brand’s recognition crosses the borders of your home country. However, you should take into consideration the values, beliefs, and cultures of the international buyers where you’re trying to expand. For instance, your branding and marketing messaging might work seamlessly with the US audience. However, you might want to revisit them for your Japanese audience.
3. Global E-commerce Offers Fast-Paced Growth
Did you know that cross-border purchases by 2022 will comprise 20% of global eCommerce? Once you manage to tap into the international markets, you are capable of growing your business at a much faster pace. This growth can be attributed to your ability to sell to customers on a global scale. The only things you need to ensure for this incredible growth are your international shipping strategy and your logistics costs.
Tips For eCommerce Expansion Into The International Market
Executing global eCommerce can be a challenge. However, there are certain things that you can do to make the process simpler and hassle-free. Check out the following tips before you commit to eCommerce expansion into the international market:
1. Check With Your Payment Provider
The majority of the payment providers have certain restrictions and rules enforced for countries from where you can accept payment. Square, Visa, PayPal, and other payment providers can give you a list of countries from where the payment can be accepted. This is something that you need to check before you commit to eCommerce expansion into any other country.
While choosing a payment provider that could help with global eCommerce payment processing, be sure to select the one that enjoys a global reputation. This helps you to build trust with your new customer base as well. You can add logos of the different payment providers that your customers can use in your website’s footer.
Speaking of international sales, you must ensure that you’re offering the preferred payment methods in the foreign markets. You’ll have to do your research for that, but it is going to be time well spent!
2. Calculate Shipping Costs Beforehand
Global eCommerce involves international shipping, which is much more expensive as opposed to local shipping. Why? Because of the distance, taxation, and tariffs. That is why before you commit to eCommerce expansion, you must calculate the shipping and handling costs to ensure that you’re capable of making profits.
The cost includes fulfillment costs, warehousing costs, and shipping supplies apart from the international shipping fees. This exercise will help you identify where you are paying more and come up with solutions to reduce the shipping cost. For instance, you could have inventory stored close to your intended customers or figure out which international markets are feasible for you based on your average order value.
You can also offer different shipping methods that charge based on the customer’s destination, including expedited and slow options, flat-rate shipping, real-time rates, or free shipping if the customer spends a certain amount on your store.
3. Carry Out Optimization Of Your Online Store
Regardless of where your customers are buying from, your website is the primary purchasing hub. Based on your business’s size, you might want to consider opening different unique online stores that are tailored for each country or region.
Shopify Plus gives you this option as well. On the other hand, you can also optimize your existing website for international buyers by offering them a multi-language translator tool. You could also craft landing pages that have been tailored or optimized as per different countries or regions.
For example, a wide majority of the eCommerce brands actually offer an option (generally in the form of flag icons on the top of the page) for international customers to check out the website in their regional language with products available in their area.
4. Mobile eCommerce – Keeping Up With eCommerce Trends
If you want to enjoy a significant place in the eCommerce future, then you need to understand the eCommerce trends and keep up with them. Mobile commerce is growing rapidly, and a lot of your customers are using their smartphones to make online purchases. That’s precisely why crafting an exceptional SMS marketing strategy has become the number one priority for many retailers!
A mobile-friendly website is great, but you should also focus on getting mobile apps for your eCommerce store as it will help you expedite your growth. Furthermore, this will help you capture more of the global eCommerce market and thus increase your profits as well.
5. Offering 24/7 Customer Service
Another factor that you must focus on when you’re thinking of eCommerce expansion is that of great customer service. You will have to cater to the fact that there will be time differences involved and language barriers.
You can invest in chatbots and third-party customer service companies to help you navigate these waters. Another approach could be hiring local customer service teams that would be handling the daytime tickets and remote customer service teams to handle the late-night tickets.
6. Product Demand & International Regulations
Before you launch into a new country, ensure that you have carried out the product demand research in that particular country and are also up to date with its regulations. For instance, a product that might be your best-seller in the US may not perform too well in Pakistan. At the same time, each country has its own regulations about which products can be sold and which can’t be. Therefore, you should do this research before you think of expanding there.
Apps That Can Help You With eCommerce Expansion
We’ve covered the tips that you can implement when you’re thinking of expanding your eCommerce business into international territories. Let’s take a look at some of the apps that can help streamline the expansion and help with it.
Translate Your Store – Weglot
This particular Shopify app can help you translate your store into multiple languages based on where your customers are accessing it from. It is free to install with paid plans starting from ninety-nine pounds yearly.
It offers 100+ translation languages and can easily translate and display your store in new languages. It can also redirect your customers to their preferred language and translate the checkout process and email notifications. It is compatible with every Shopify theme and app and doesn’t require you to tinker with any coding.
Mobile App Builder – Vajro
We’ve talked about the importance of mobile commerce. Here’s a Shopify app that lets you build a mobile app for your Shopify store in under sixty minutes. It offers a 60-day trial, and pricing starts from $99/month.
You’ll be able to create native iOS and Android mobile apps for your business, and the best part is that it doesn’t require any coding skills whatsoever. The app helps you create branded mobile apps for your business by enabling you to customize colors, layouts, and much more!
Trackr Order Tracking
Order tracking plays a vital role in the eCommerce industry. It can help your customers know exactly where their order is in real-time and thus imparts a certain level of trust. This particular app does it amazingly well. It offers a trial period of 15 days, free of charge, and then charges you $9/month.
It can provide your customers with real-time information from more than 900 carriers globally and even send them email notifications about their order status.
HelpCenter | FAQ & HelpDesk
This app is free to install with paid plans starting from $4/month. It offers various features such as help desk ticketing, live chat for customer support, and an FAQ page for your eCommerce store.
It can help you ensure consistently good customer service to your customers – a must-have if you think of eCommerce expansion. It also allows you to consolidate your various communication channels such as email, chat, or Facebook messenger into a centralized location.
To Sum It All Up
Expanding your eCommerce business into new markets offers a variety of benefits. However, global eCommerce can prove to be a challenge and therefore requires certain legwork to be done. You should focus on product demand, fulfillment costs, and international selling regulations for the countries you want to expand into before committing to eCommerce expansion.
Optimizing your store, working out the customer service kinks, and ensuring payment options that are the norm for the intended market are also some of the factors that you should focus on before you launch your business into a new country. Let’s not forget, though; there are certain Shopify apps that can help you with global eCommerce. You should take out the time to see which apps can help you streamline and automate certain aspects of your eCommerce business during and after your eCommerce expansion takes place!