International Ecommerce: What are the considerations when doing ecommerce in different countries and across multiple borders?
In a world where competition is driving shipping costs down and shoppers are looking to vendors who produce unique items from different parts of the world, it is no surprise that international ecommerce is on a steady rise. According to a report from Plunkett Research, worldwide ecommerce has already exceeded $1.5 billion and is expected to reach $2 billion quickly. European retailers are the leaders in international ecommerce with 88% of businesses exporting to other European countries, and imports to the U.S. are also on the rise. Approximately only 30% of American businesses export goods to Europe, according to a study conducted by Ebay. There are several reasons why you should bring your online business to the international level, but ATAK Interactive Inc. can help you be informed on how to take advantage and increase your profits.
1. Identifying your target markets
The first step to bring your business to the international level is to determine which market(s) you should be focusing on. Eurostat, a statistical bureau, recently reported that 43% of individuals between the ages of 16 and 75 purchased a product online, so Europe is a good starting point. The leading countries with online shoppers were Sweden, the UK and Germany. Shoppers in Japan and China are also steadily rising, and should be considered as targets as well.
2. Determining what your customers want
As with any business, you will drive sales upward by giving customers what they want, making them feel confident purchasing from you, and making it easy to buy the product. General desired characteristics of ecommerce shopping are shared by customers internationally, such as secure credit card transactions, sound privacy policies and timely processing and shipping, but trends can differ from country to country. An excellent reference point when building your international business is a research report produced by WorldPay. The full report can be accessed here: http://www.worldpay.com/globalshopper/mrc-report-shopper.pdf
3. Operating off a reliable international platform
Taking advantage of the growing international market, many providers of ecommerce platforms are offering international services and providing concise, advanced, and easy-to-use products. It would be wise to use an existing international e-commerce provider to at least get your business going in a timely manner as it will alleviate many headaches and hiccups. Although services differ, the following can be expected of a reputable international e-commerce platform provider:
- International currency conversion
- The platform will likely detect where the customer is located and automatically provide the local currency, and/or provide options for different currencies.
- Language adaptation
- The platform will automatically adjust to the language where the user is located, and/or provide the customer with the option to toggle between languages based on the customer’s preference.
- Customer Service
- Many platforms also offer customer service support if your customers have questions or experience any issues with purchasing products through the platform.
One example of a multi-service international platform provider is Global Shopex. The service offers aggressive international shipping rates, duties and tax calculations, in addition to taking on full risk for any fraud, and also performing SEO, PPC and other marketing services. With that said, there are dozens of reputable firms out there to utilize for your business. The most important things to remember are to make sure the platform is PCI compliant (Payment Card Industry), which is the global standard for any ecommerce payment transaction, and to be sure that you are clear on all terms of service before you start working with any platform provider. Some have an all-inclusive blanket monthly service fee while others have a monthly fee plus a charge per transaction. Additionally, find out which banks the platform provider is backed by and has relationships with. These are all indicators of what level of service performance can be expected.
Although it can seem daunting at first, setting up your e-commerce business to service clients internationally can boost sales in the long run. Consulting with an experienced company like ATAK Interactive, Inc. can help relieve the stress and point you and your growing business in the right direction.