Even small business can operate on an international scale thanks to the internet and the many affordable, innovative new tools hitting the market. All you need is a smart system in place, an international outlook, and of course to know how to advertise to new markets. This can all seem really intimidating at first, but do know there are many small – even single person – businesses out there that are connecting with international customers and all they are doing differently than you is setting up an international delivery system and marketing themselves appropriately.
You too can expand to other countries and really start bringing in the sales, and all you need is to follow these steps:
1. Get Your Website Ready
First things first, you are going to want to get your website or your ecommerce platform up and ready for an international audience. Ideally this will mean having professionally translated pages, but at minimum you should have the feature that allows customers to shop in their local currency. This is a very easy feature to offer, and you can even limit what currencies you will accept through your payment provider.
2. Get a Robust Communication Solution
People are going to get in touch with you. Some will expect you to respond to chats or direct messages. Others are going to send emails. Some still are going to want to call you. Have a solution for each option. A simple plugin can provide customers with a chat box, for example, but not all solutions will be so easy. Handling international calls is imperative, but you also don’t want to deal with those long-distance charges. The best option is to have an IT agency like Kortek Solutions set up a VoIP system for you which will allows you to make and receive calls over the internet, as well as enjoy many top-notch services that will make it easier than ever to do business with overseas customers.
3. Start Marketing
While the global marketplace has homogenized a lot of different marketing styles, it is still important to understand the market you are advertising to. Start off with customers from a similar cultural background as you. It is simply easier and you’ll get a lot more traction for your efforts as you build up the notoriety of your brand.
If you want to expand even further, then you are going to need to either partner with marketing agencies or a local business similar to yours. Many American companies fail when trying to break into Asian markets, for example, because they attempt to copy-paste the marketing and their business approach to a market they don’t understand.
4. Build a Smart Shipping Solution
The best solution will be to have product at different shipping centers around the world. This is an option, too. You can ship your stock to be stored in a warehouse and if a customer in that area orders from you, the shipping provider will take that item from your warehouse and ship it for you. This can be very cost effective, but only once you’ve established yourself. For businesses just starting out know you can use national postal services. Just choose the tracking option every time and build the cost into the price of your item. This way people get great service, benefit from ‘free’ shipping, and you can grow your international audience.