One of the main advantages of eCommerce is also one of its biggest challenges. Meet the main challenges of selling online to an international market. The Internet opens the doors to a global market. The idea of being able to sell beyond the borders of our country is really attractive. Best of all, a lot of the resources you need to do it are the same, so … why not consider this option, reach more public and make our investment faster?
Challenges of selling online to an international market
It never hurts to stop for a moment to breathe and think about the task ahead of you before going to work. Internationalization is a process that will put you in different situations to those that you find in your day to day in a local project, and it is good that you keep them in mind before you start.
# 1 – Logistics
Surely it is the first issue that has come to mind. It is never the same to make shipments within a single national territory than to make them multiple. The costs are different and, most importantly, you have remarkably lower control of the process, with your merchandise making kilometers and jumping from delegation to delegation and from one logistics center to another.
The first thing you have to ask yourself is to what extent your product is suitable for sale to other countries. Factors such as size and weight are critical when calculating the rates of logistics operators, And you also have to take into account if they are delicate or perishable because all this can complicate the scenario a bit more.
# 2 – Reverse Logistics
One of the aspects that we have to have very clear when opening an eCommerce is product returns. We have commented on more than one occasion, and it is true that it involves a small headache (not to mention the associated costs ).
As we say, it is key to have a very well controlled reverse logistics and minimize the number of returns because, in the case of selling online to an international market, the costs are much higher.
You have to work your product sheets to the fullest, carefully choose the copies to be descriptive, many and good images, be as efficient as possible in the picking …
For making a final note, we remind you that you will have to unfold your customer service to be able to provide it in different languages. Surely the most practical is to solve it with some kind of live chat tool or ticketing system (some already allow simultaneous translation even if they are not perfect).
# 3 – Cultural adaptation of texts
Since we discuss the issue of the translation challenge, we cannot forget one of the most important plots in terms of the content of an online store: the text of the product sheets, categories, email marketing, all the editorial content of our blog …The issue is much deeper than a “simple” translation. If we want copywriting to remain effective, we have to locate these texts and adapt them culturally to the referents and the way of expressing the different target audiences.
# 4 – International market marketing strategy
Selling online to multiple markets requires a different strategic approach. It is true that we must start from a series of basic premises that will affect all our actions, but it changes the way we implement them, segmentation and timing.
If we want to be really efficient in international online sales, we must handle concepts such as:
Competitor analysis: if you sell in only one country, you will be clear who is the local and multinational competition. Well, in the case at hand, you have to replicate the study for each of the countries in which you plan to land.
Seasonality: one of the great advantages of selling to different markets is that you can break the seasonality of demand by placing products that are yours in a period of low demand in other markets.
Segmentation: the segmentation criteria you have for your country may not be as efficient in other countries. It is worth stopping at them to better understand your audience before launching any campaign.
Legality: each country has its own laws in almost any subject. You must audit your business model and product before entering a new market. Be sure to respect national laws, know taxes and possible obstacles to avoid compromising viability.
You see that we are not talking about a minor thing and that there is much to consider . Even so, it is worth remembering that it has never been so easy to internationalize a business as it is now.