Before you decide that Global Expansion is your next step, make sure to assess your products to ensure they are a good fit for Global Customers. Is there sufficient demand in global markets for what you sell? Is your product or service something that translates well into other cultures? If the answer is yes and you’re ready to take on the challenge of expanding globally, your next step is to plan how you’ll roll out E-commerce operations worldwide. The following 5 tips can help you achieve a successful launch:
- Global + Local = Think “Glocally”
To sell your products or services successfully around the world, you’ll need to adapt your global marketing strategy to each local market. A strategy that works in North America won’t necessarily resonate in Africa or Asia. Rethink your marketing strategy and shopping experience for each local market you’re entering, and adapt your approach to accommodate regional expectations.
- Make Sure Your Site Caters to Local Languages and Customs
The first impression global customers will form of your company will come from your website. Straight translation isn’t enough: If you need convincing, pull up a foreign language site and ask Google to translate the page. Language is subtle and complex, and context is everything. To adapt your content to a new market, you’ll need expert help, a local team capable of translating your message using excellent grammar and language that resonates with shoppers in that market. Focusing on global shopping dates, not just key dates for North America and Europe. China has shown this past year that online shopping can deliver larger shopping dates than in the USA and Europe combined. In the UK the largest shopping day is Mega Monday. In the USA Black Friday and Cyber Monday lead the shopping holiday season. Canada and Australia have Boxing Day as a post-Christmas shopping opportunity. In the USA they even labeled shopping on Thanksgiving as Gray Thursday in advance of Black Friday. Post-Christmas sales even began before Christmas this year online and offline. In China 11/11, the national E-commerce day, became the latest world record shopping day. Soon after companies in China were quickly seeking to grow more support for 12/12, a similar annual mass shopping day, labeled as International E-commerce day which has been very popular in Indonesia and India in previous years.
- Develop a Pricing and Tax Compliance Strategy
No matter where you operate, you’ll be required to comply with local tax collection regulations, so it’s critical to have an accounting infrastructure in place. This reduces liability exposure in the event of an audit. Taxes on E-commerce operations can be complex, involving local nexus issues and export regulations. In addition to the tax issue, you’ll need to make sure your pricing reflects local market realities. You’ll also need to display the cost of each item in local currency and make sure prices are in line with local averages and expectations.
- Use Marketplaces to Enter New Global Markets
A method that brands have found successful to enter new global markets, besides their own E-commerce site, is to be where the customers are already looking for their products which is on popular marketplaces. In China online marketplaces are very popular. Taobao and Tmall are leading marketplaces run by Alibaba. 360Buy.com is another leading marketplace in China. In Russia, Yandex.Market is the leading online marketplace, a division of the Yandex online conglomerate. In the USA eBay and Amazon.com represent the key online marketplace equivalents. In Asia a marketplace that quietly is growing a presence across the region is Rakuten.
- Establish an Operations Plan
In all the preparation to launch your E-commerce site and E-marketing operations in global markets, don’t forget to carefully build a network to handle logistics on the local level. Include detailed supply chain and transportation plans based on information from local teams that can walk you through every stage from order receipt to delivery.