4 Tips for Retailers Going Global
Although deciding to go global can be quite a daunting commitment for a business, there really hasn't been a better time to benefit from international e-commerce than now. Recent research by Rakuten, LinkShare and Forrester Consulting shows that over the last 12 months, a staggering two-thirds (68 percent) of online shoppers bought something from outside their home country. Learning how to maximize this trend for customers buying from the comfort of their own sofa can result in a big return on investment. Here are a few simple tips on how to make jumping into the unknown a walk in the park:
1. Be honest about markets. First things first: Which markets are you looking to target? Although the e-commerce world is your oyster, it doesn't mean everyone is your consumer. Taking a brand international should be a carefully considered decision. Examine who your current customers are. Do you get much international interest for your products? Has there been a shift in your industry, with a particular market showing great emerging potential? What are your competitors doing in various international markets? By evaluating your business and products you can identify which markets would be a good base to begin with, and from which you can look to scale up.
If you don't have such business insights, but still want to go global, why not start by looking at markets that are very similar to your own. For example, if you're in the pork industry, expanding into Muslim countries probably isn't the wisest move. Of course every market is individual and requires its own localization, but some share similarities and have very similar customs and traditions that allow for easy expansion.
2. Localize your website and content. Once you've identified which markets you're looking to move into, localizing your website and any content should be the first thing on your to-do list. One international website is no longer enough; consumers want global brands that talk to them on a local level. Begin by carrying out local research and creating a profile of your new customers. What are their interests, who are your competitors, what language do they use, etc.? These questions, in particular the latter, will help you to steer the localization of your website.