Thursday, 9 August 2012

How to target International markets

As your online business grows, you are looking to broaden your horizons and see how far you can actually take your business. After having great success locally, you may wish to try your hand at selling your products or services Internationally. Selling your products to distant lands will allow you to reach a whole new customer base. However, what you need to remember is that although it will allow you to generate more revenue if done correctly, it will also increase your costs. However, with the language, cultural and geographical differences between various countries, how can you achieve International success for your business?

Well, one of the first things you need to remember straight off the bat is that selling Internationally is not for everyone. There are a number of hurdles you are going to have to overcome and for some businesses, those hurdles will just be too time consuming or costly to be a worthwhile endeavour. In past articles, I have discussed the importance in carrying out extensive research before starting any online business and when it comes to selling your products to an International market, you need to increase your research to a whole new level. It's no good just thinking you will sell to anyone everywhere in the world. What you first need to do is find out if that particular country has a market for the product your selling. There is no point spending substantial amounts of money setting up your online store to market and sell to a specific country, only to find that not many people in that country actually want your product. That's just going to waste a significant amount of time and money.

If you have carried out research into a particular country and found that there is a market for the products you are selling, what do you do next? Well, what you don't want to do is dive straight in and see what happens. What you want to do is first is carry out some form of testing. This may mean taking a few orders from that country as almost a beta test and seeing how easily the whole process works from confirming the product to shipping it out to the destination. After carrying out this process you may find that selling to that country is just too tricky and is not viable, based on the profit you would make from each sale. Carrying out this form of testing will allow you to find out if selling to that country is viable for you without committing too much of your capital and resources. 

The most obvious barrier facing all UK based companies will be the language difference. When selling Internationally you are going to have to translate your website into the various languages of the countries you wish to sell your products to. If you do decide to do this, you need to make sure it's done properly. This does NOT mean asking Google to simply translate your site. Doing this will result in your website becoming grammatically incorrect when viewed in a foreign language. What this means is that although the text will be translated into the correct language, it will not make sense and will make it extremely different or even impossible for visiting customers to understand the information you are trying to give them. What you need to do is employ a translation company to carry out the work on your behalf. They will translate your online store into the language you require, ensuring that all of the spelling and grammatical requirements for that country are correct. However, some of these companies can cost you a large amount of money and if you are small eBay business for example, this may just be more than you are currently willing to spend. Another option for you would be to consider purchasing some ecommerce software that includes various language packs for your target country. However, before deciding to go down either route, you need to carry out research to find out which option is not only more affordable for your business but also reliable. Sometimes you have to pay more to ensure that you get the results you require.

If you are an eBay store owner, this is not the only barrier you will have to overcome. eBay's own policy requires you to have an eBay account in good standing, have a verified Paypal account, have at least 10 feedback points from selling and have your first successful sale more than 90 days ago. But in truth, if you run a store that hasn't fulfilled all of these requirements easily, you shouldn't even considering moving into an International market.

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