5 Best Practices for Marketing to International Consumers
Online commerce continued to gain ground in 2013, with forecasts that an estimated 189.4 million digital shoppers in the U.S. this year will rise to 210.2 million by 2017. However, for the key areas of future growth, retailers should look beyond national boundaries.
This was the year when the rapid growth of Chinese e-commerce resulted in it eclipsing that of the U.S., according to a Bain & Company report. It's a trend that will continue in Asia as a whole, where 42 percent of the web's users can now be found, and other markets such as Latin America.
The question is, will these consumers favor homegrown retail sites? Encouragingly, WorldPay found that 44 percent of Chinese consumers were willing to shop on international websites. However, the consumers polled had a number of concerns, suggesting that retailers have some way to go to win the trust of global consumers. Work on breaking down those obstacles to convince international consumers that you're ready to do business with them. Here are five ways how:
1. Tailor your website to international markets. If all your content leads to a .com domain, with pricing in dollars and U.S.-only contact information, your website will give overseas visitors the wrong message. While a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works, a more elegant solution is to build a separate website for each key market.
Often, it makes sense to do this on a language basis. For example, one Spanish-language website could work for the majority of your Latin American markets. However, for your most important markets, it can be worth tailoring the content to each country and hosting it on the appropriate top-level domain (e.g., .mx for Mexico). This has the added benefit of flagging your site as a relevant local search result for search engines. In turn, this increases the chances that it will be ranked highly for search traffic in that location.