Exchanging goods or services for money across borders comes with a host of regulatory measures and technical considerations, regardless of whether you’re doing business face-to-face or online. There are also important environmental and cultural differences that will influence the way that you present your offerings to local consumers.
If you are ready to expand your B2B enterprise, there are some important things that you should consider regarding scalability and your choices.
Does your company have the technology and personnel to serve a global market? You need to ask yourself if you have the:
If you do not have them at hand, how will you source solutions? It is important to ask:
- Is it more profitable to continue manufacturing and distributing your goods from your existing physical and digital locations, or should you consider opening up additional locations and local websites that are closer to your target markets?
- Do you have the ability to effectively launch, manage, and analyse your performance in multiple independent markets?
- Should functions such as sales, marketing, design and translation services be outsourced or does the substantially larger investment in hiring staff work better for the long term?
- Will your current technology stack be able to handle the increased volume of transactions?
It will take time to answer these questions and they should be carefully considered before action is taken.
Is your technology stack ready to scale at the rate required? The success or failure of your planned expansion effort will be directly determined by your ability to deliver through technology.
Your website and applications need to scale in quantity and they need to be robust enough to handle traffic spikes. A SaaS content management system (CMS) is now the preferred option for growing eCommerce brands because that scalability is taken care of by the vendor, allowing the company to manage marketing, sales, and customer support across multiple channels.
3. Local laws & regulations
Your legal team needs to understand the rules and regulations of every market that you enter. For many goods and some services, there are barriers when selling in an international market, and they can change fast.
You need an advisor who stays ahead of the curve so that you can be sure your business is not suspended, banned or bankrupt because you did not take the time to learn about the country you are trading in.
4. Local pricing
Understanding the differences in income levels, currency values, and the perceived value of money from one country to another will help you to determine the price of your products in a given market.
The other important thing you need to consider is implementing the preferred payment method for the region you want to operate in. Using a provider that can manage different gateway options in different regions is the best way to expand and find success in a multicultural landscape.
It is worth taking the time to update your website to be multilingual so that you can appeal to the market you are entering. While many people internationally can access a website in English, the best practice is to offer the website with language options.
Do not rely on Google. Take the time and invest in translation services. Make sure you research the service you want to use, as many services offered are little better than AI translation, and in business, you need to be far more specific.
6. Cultural sensitivities
Beyond the governmental restrictions that may exist at the local or national levels, there are also important cultural considerations that need to inform your decision to enter a new market.
Engaging in cross-border commerce requires your cultural awareness. For example, your current line of products or even your current marketing strategy might conflict with local cultural norms or beliefs. You will want to make sure that you are intimately familiar with the cultural sensitivities that exist within your target market and adjust your sales and marketing tactics to meet their specific preferences.
7. Competitor presence
Your market research is crucial to an expansion effort. You need to understand who is in the market and if they are successful, why. You might find that you are contending with a very established, family-owned business that has close personal relationships with local consumers, meaning that establishing yourself and gaining a market share could be a challenge.
If there is a demand for your product and local consumers are willing to pay for it, your strategy should include separating yourself in the marketplace to elevate your brand.
Are you equipped to effectively communicate with international audiences? There are a number of communication challenges that exist when you expand your eCommerce business global.
Are you ready to try and fail and try again when communicating with new business contacts and customers? It can be challenging to navigate the nuances of language barriers and technology, both of which need to be at the front of any expansion plans.
Take time to consider why you want to expand, how you want to do it and what markets will benefit your business.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
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