Have you yet launched a global ecommerce business?
If you think about it, any business with an on ecommerce shop is already showing their products and services globally. Your homepage can be viewed by an online shopper in the UK as easily as it can by someone in Australia.
But, it doesn’t really matter whether you’ll make your ecommerce site visible to customers in other regions or countries. Your decisions impact how you choose to present your company to foreign customers and whether or not you want to make it easy for them to purchase from you.
3 Considerations Any Global Ecommerce Business Must Address
We will discuss three primary considerations any brand considering expansion must address:
#1. Logistics as Customer Experience
Chances are you are already receiving traffic to your site and some of that traffic includes potential buyers. Once you have decided you want to pursue orders from cross-borders you will need to accept certain barriers. Some of these barriers are payment methods, language differences, logistics, and more.
The first important decision is related to how you want to present the items you want to offer. You have three choices:
- You can use your current domain name and create subdomains for each region/country. For example, uk.myproduct.com.
- You can use your current domain name, use region-specific sites or folders to hold the country. For example, myproduct.com/uk/
- You can create a separate domain using country-level domain name expansion. For example, myproduct.uk.
This is a technical decision, yet still is important to keep customer experience as the main factor in your decision.
Your visitors should feel safe and comfortable on your site. Shopping your items should be enjoyable and relatively easy.
Another decision to consider is whether you want to use localized third-party websites to explore the market. Many brands, for example, start by selling their items via Alibaba.
This can be an excellent opportunity to get your feet wet in global ecommerce marketing. After all, there is much to learn and it is better if you do it step-by-step.
You can use someone else’s ecommerce site to explore the market and get a feeling for how much demand there is for your item within the country the website serves.
The third-party websites will have most of the logistics worked out.
Shipping costs are one of the main barriers to cross-border ecommerce. Shipping expenses and delivery time are important factors every customer will take into consideration when checking out.
Failing to address the impact of shipping on price is a contributing factor to cart abandonment.
#2. Localization and Cultural Differences
Localization is all about national and cultural differences. If you don’t do your research, it can catch you off guard. For example, cookie in the USA is called biscuit in the UK. This, believe it or not, is a critical distinction and the SEO consequences are huge.
Delivering the content in the preferred language of the customer is not enough. Going beyond that and understanding the differences in language are important as well.
Imagine the effect on consumer retail marketing if an international merchant decided to explore the US market and didn’t know about Black Friday.
Here are a few of the most important events and holidays known in the countries where they are celebrated:
- Canada – Boxing Day
- Australia – Click Frenzy
- Egypt – Coptic Christmas
- China – Singles Day
- Hong Kong – Lunar New Year
- France – Les Soldes
- India – Great Online Shopping Festival
- South Korea – Pepero Day
- Poland – Women’s Day
- Venezuela – Carnival
The events, festivals and holidays combined with the business opportunities available in different countries opens new doors of possibilities.
Internationalization is preparing a product to meet the requirements of customers from different countries. Having your site built in such a way can easily adapt to the requirements of specific target markets.
Internationalization can be done by creating your website in such a way that its design and layout will work if the content is translated into different languages.
When translating, the internationalization process means localization enablement which may include:
- Developing a website graphic whose text labels can be translated
- Offering space in UI for translation into languages with different characters.
- Using examples that are accepted all over the world
- Using web editors or tools that support international character sets when building websites
Keep in mind – localization is not a simple process. To make sure it is done properly, a team of professional translators should be included. It will minimize the mistakes as the team goes for internationalization.
What about personalization considerations?
Well, consumers from all over the world behave similarly. We all want the best items at the best price. And we want them quickly.
Your ecommerce site must acknowledge these desires and show potential buyers why you are the best option on the market. You will need to convince them that your online store is a safe place to purchase.
Here are some important points to keep in mind:
- Show all measurements and sizes in the proper format
- Don’t rely on direct translation or translation software. Instead, you need to make your content sound like you are speaking to the customers.
- Analyze local websites to better understand customers’ needs and expectations.
- Offer customer service options in the most acceptable ways to the potential customer
- Ensure your potential customers have access to your payment alternatives
- Use accurate information for customer identification
- Run sales and marketing campaigns that are customized to local celebrations and traditions.
Before doing anything, start with learning. Discover who is successful in your market and why their strategies are attracting visitors.
For most businesses, expanding sales to the global market makes a good business strategy.
Launching a successful promotional or marketing campaign informs your efforts, however, it doesn’t promise success.
A strategy that works in the UK may fail in Australia or China.
Each country and culture must be looked at from a different perspective.
By considering the three points we’ve just discussed, you will be on your way to launching a successful international ecommerce business.