Is it Time to Go International?
Sell on Local Marketplaces
Merchants can take advantage of third-party marketplaces such as the extensive networks developed by e-commerce goliaths Amazon and eBay to easily establish an international foothold.
While it may seem odd to partner with entities once seen as the enemy, it's becoming commonplace for merchants competing with Amazon to simultaneously take advantage of its dominant position by participating in the Amazon Marketplace program. In exchange for a cut of the revenues, merchants can use the marketplace to piggyback on Amazon's international presence to establish brand footholds abroad without the headaches of launching a stand-alone site.
There are several potential benefits of such a move, including improved search visibility, exposure to new audiences, easy accessibility for fast-growing mobile users, and the ability to tap into fulfillment services that help negotiate international shipping and tariff hurdles.
Even brands that go on to invest more significantly in overseas markets can piggyback off marketplace services, as Perricone MD does in Japan. The skincare products manufacturer's Japanese website includes information about the brand, customer testimonials and product information. The site's "Buy" buttons take shoppers to Amazon's Japanese marketplace to complete their orders, which are fulfilled by Amazon.
Ship Internationally From Your U.S. E-Commerce Site
Before launching a new country-specific website or considering whether to open foreign fulfillment centers, merchants can iron out the logistics of international trade by shipping internationally from the U.S.
This option is already popular with merchants of all sizes. Nearly 60 percent of merchants in the Internet Retailer Top 500 and more than 45 percent of merchants in the second 500 already offer some form of international shipping.
Among the top 500 merchants, Canada is by far the most popular international option offered, with the U.K. and other European destinations, Japan and Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand rounding out the top 20.