3 Ways to Maximize Global E-Commerce Revenue
E-commerce sales are expected to surpass $530 billion by 2020. The obvious benefit of running an e-commerce business is you're not restricted by geographic location. Even better, you're not limited to regular store hours and can be processing transactions from all over the world while you sleep.
However, as great as this all sounds, many online retailers go into business thinking they can automatically start selling products across the globe without issue. Going global with an e-commerce website is much more complicated than it might seem on the surface. Similar to opening a brick-and-mortar store in a different country, you need to have a keen knowledge of the language, culture, obstacles of doing business overseas, among other things.
Here are three ways you can run a revenue-driving operation in the complex game of global e-commerce:
1. Use international banking services to avoid high transfer fees.
One of the biggest oversights that e-commerce business owners make in the process of going global is not paying attention to how expensive transfer fees are. Amazon.com's default global seller program (and ones like it) make the prospect of selling products across the world quick and easy. However, it’s amazing how much money businesses lose from these fees alone. These costs can be detrimental to your bottom line, especially as a smaller operation.
Keep in mind, setting up multiple global accounts as a small business isn't always realistic. Fortunately, avoiding costly transfer fees doesn’t have to be a tedious process. There are plenty of overseas banking services geared to smaller e-commerce businesses dealing with foreign currency. Some can even be integrated with marketplace giants like Amazon.com, Alibaba, eBay International, etc., and have foreign exchange markups lower than 1 percent.
Start by evaluating your most impactful target markets. If you’ve been working on a seller network and have built up a pool of sales data, look at the areas where you're generating the most conversions and revenue. There's nothing worse than getting dinged by transfer fees when you're trying to grow an online business. Using an overseas banking service can do wonders to cut down on these overhead costs.
2. Invest in a translation service.
The key to international selling is understanding the language(s). Another massive misconception many online business owners have going into cross-border selling is that translating a website for foreign markets is a simple task. Moreover, they believe this can be done quickly with natural language processing tools, like Google Translate. Unfortunately, there are all sorts of language graces, contexts and verbiage that these tools cannot mimic to the fullest extent. Think about it: if you landed on an e-commerce page full of broken English and poor word usage, how inclined would you be to make a purchase?
Each market you expand your e-commerce business into comes with its own unique set of nuances and slang. These factors play monumental roles in reaching customers on a personal level and proving your brand is the solution to their pain points. Plain and simple, you need an expert translation resource that understands the idiomatic elements attached to a certain culture.
Holistic translation in a global e-commerce store is something you want to invest heavily in. Even a small, simple language mistake can be a huge turn off to local shoppers. Essentially, it tells them you don’t fully understand the culture you're trying to sell in. E-commerce businesses all over the world are realizing the importance of a reliable translation service. The market share for global language services has been on a steady rise throughout the past decade, and is estimated to cross the $50 billion mark in the next few years.
There are many things to consider when choosing a translation service for your global e-commerce store. Most importantly, it should have industry specialization around what you do. For example, if you're selling tires online, the translation service should have experience in the automotive industry. Also, look for its presence in your relevant markets. If you're looking to sell products in parts of Asia, partnering with an agency that has locations or project managers in those regions will be a huge help.
To reiterate, translation is something you should splurge on when taking your e-commerce site global. Consumers want a human touch — and it’s painfully obvious when you miss the mark when trying to relate to foreign cultures.
3. Use a reliable content delivery network.
It’s no secret that consumers have become incredibly inpatient, especially when it comes to online sales. According to data from Pingdom, web pages see a significant drop off after two to three seconds of load time.
There are many potential culprits behind a slow-loading web page. When it comes to global e-commerce, content delivery plays a huge role. For instance, if your web servers are located in the United States and you have a website targeting people in China, it will likely take some time for the content to load. After all, it has to transmit the data to the opposite side of the world. When this is the case, you'll undoubtedly lose conversions and revenue.
Content delivery networks (CDNs) act as outposts in different geographical locations and allow your e-commerce store to deliver content like images, forms and other files quickly. When a consumer lands on your website, he or she is automatically served by the closest CDN for the quickest page speed.
Some of the bigger e-commerce platforms, like BigCommerce and Shopify, are equipped with CDNs so customers can have quick access to your site from just about anywhere in the world. When you're setting up your e-commerce store for global markets, a CDN needs to be a big factor in the platform you choose.
Over to You
The prospect of “going global” with a business is more attainable than it has ever been. However, just because it's attainable doesn't mean that it’s easy.
As you will quickly learn as you enter foreign markets, the nature of online sales can change quite a bit across the globe. The most important factors in maximizing your revenue are avoiding costly transfer fees and making sure your website functions seamlessly across the globe. Failing to nail down these components is essentially like leaving money on the table.
Related story: 4 Ways AI is Transforming E-Commerce Businesses
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Co-Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.