For many owners of eCommerce businesses, choosing to only offer products and services locally is a conscious decision – and it’s one that’s more often than not borne out of a fear of the unknown. However, the question of whether or not you choose to expand your eCommerce customer base to include international audiences is one that could prove detrimental to the success of your business.
But what about Brexit you say? Won’t it get complicated? Well maybe, and if you already trade internationally, or have international suppliers, you will need to think about your online processes. This is critical if your website automates actions related to international transactions, whether for clients or product and supplier management.
However, the Brexit challenge can also represent an opportunity. Your competitors may shy away from that challenge, or they may be planning to deal with it right now. The question is where do you want to be in the next couple of years, national or international?
Whatever the outcome, the UK and European bloc countries will always trade with each other, so unless your product or service can only ever be useful in the UK, it’s worth looking at some of the biggest benefits of trading internationally
One of the biggest reasons why you should expand your eCommerce store to customers overseas is if you anticipate there being a demand for the products or services that you offer. To know this, you should always aim to conduct some market research surrounding the countries you wish to ship to – do their culture and daily life use your products in the same way as your local customers do? If so, then it could be a great marketing move to ship internationally. If your eCommerce offering is one that is niche and perhaps won’t be as profitable internationally, then maybe withhold from opening up your market for now.
Consumerism is rampant across the world. Thanks to this, you want to make sure your eCommerce store stands out from competitors, no matter where in the world they may be. Again, by conducting some primary research into the competitors that are based in the country or region you’re trying to break into, you can see how your eCommerce branding stacks up. The ideal scenario is that you want your brand to be succinct and distinct, yet not too different from those you’re competing against. After all, they likely know their own country better than you.
Marketing your eCommerce store in solely one language – even if it’s English – is unlikely to win you any favours with any international endeavours you undertake. This is because you’re restricting the accessibility of your products and website content for audiences that don’t speak that language, or speak it as a second or third preference. By creating an eCommerce website that is multilingual, you’re demonstrating favourable values such as inclusivity, as well as widening your potential target audiences.
Before starting Pixel Executive, Stirling Austin gained over 25 years’ experience of successfully building businesses across Europe. Bilingual French/English, Stirling has managed, bought, sold, acquired, merged, divested, restructured and transformed businesses in the UK, France, and Germany, and started and developed four companies and two business units from scratch. Stirling has first-hand operational experience of the different issues facing companies and executives looking to expand in France and across Europe.
If you need help creating a website that works for international markets, or just advice on where to start to expand your business internationally, get in touch with Stirling.