Looking to expand your online store? Then you might be a good candidate for selling worldwide. These are the difficulties you might experience and how to get beyond them.
International shipping has made it simpler than ever for online retailers to welcome customers from around the globe. The good news is that there is a hungry market of international customers out there who want to experiment with and purchase from foreign businesses.
In the 12 months leading up to October 2021, 57% of online buyers made at least one purchase from a company based abroad, according to recent study. This year, cross-border e-commerce is expected to account for 22% of all global e-commerce sales, up from 15% in 2016.
However, it's necessary to take into account some of the obstacles to international trading before you hastily post a large "We Ship International" banner on your website. For instance, if you want your company and your consumers to have a flawless experience, you must first solve the issues associated with international shipping. You almost certainly will run into some challenges in a big, diversified planet with many different languages and cultural quirks.
It might be difficult to figure out how to sell internationally, but knowing the frequent errors to avoid and taking the necessary actions to do so are essential for the success of your company. Read on...
1. Selling on the wrong platform
The greatest international e-commerce platform for your growing business must be chosen, just as picking the ideal location for a brick and mortar store is essential. An outdated legacy system, especially one that was specially created for you when you were just getting started, may severely limit your ability to advance. You can discover that issues with your platform start to multiply when you enter new markets and nations. It might have trouble handling different currencies, need an increasing number of third-party apps to perform simple tasks, or be unable to use cutting-edge technologies like chatbots or artificial intelligence.
What you can do
· Be prepared to do your homework. Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce are just a few of the companies in the congested e-commerce platform market. To help you narrow down the options, make a list of the "must-have" characteristics of your e-commerce platform, such as customisation, flexibility, scalability, and of course price.
· Consider an online marketplace. For foreign retailers intending to sell to consumers in those nations, some have intricate requirements. It may be advantageous in this situation to sell on a marketplace. To sell on the platform, you don't need to have a physical presence in China or a Chinese company license, and you may accept payments in your own currency. Take China's Tmall Global, for instance, which is designed exclusively for global firms. Observe the fees that each platform levies.
2. Choosing the wrong markets
There are more than 220 markets to pick from, but not all of them will be suitable for your business. Rapid growth and expansion may be expensive; before you realize it, you've spent money localizing your website for a market that isn't actually interested in what you're selling.
What you can do
· Research, research, research. Find out the most popular e-commerce product categories in the market you want to sell to (not hard with Google). What are some of the largest online shops in the country selling, too? what price range? How do they use social media to promote themselves? Additionally, you ought to look at some of your rivals' export markets because if they are doing so, there must be a market there.
3. Not understanding your target market
Unfortunately, you cannot just "copy and paste" your successful local sales technique into all foreign markets. Shopping habits and expectations vary greatly between nations, therefore a consumer in Italy will not have the same expectations as one in India. You will lose out on many opportunities to make sales if your e-commerce website is not optimized for each area.
More than just localizing your website is involved in customization. Think about whether local customers prefer using mobile shopping apps or e-commerce websites for their online buying. Can your company handle that? What about the most well-liked social media channels to reach prospects? Or do users favor messaging apps for communication? There are other trends that you might not be aware of, like the fact that live streaming is a major component of online commerce in China. How can you make your sales approach more effective if you are unaware of these things?
What you can do
· Think globally, market locally. Even if your e-commerce company has ambitious global goals, you still need to approach each target market as a distinct entity with its own shopping habits and preferences.
You can get all the information you need to successfully interact with and sell to customers in any region from DHL's special, free country guides. These insights, which range from the top e-commerce product categories to the most popular delivery choices, will assist you in customizing, pivoting, and adapting your offering to suit their demands.
4. Not offering the right payment methods
When their preferred payment method is available at the checkout, online customers are 70% more likely to complete the transaction, but the specifics of what that preferred method is will differ from nation to country. You might be shocked to learn that in some locations, cash on delivery is still the preferred payment option. This presents challenges for international vendors. Then there are choices for "purchase now, pay later," digital wallets, and even payment through messenger applications to take into account.
What you can do
· Do some research on international payment methods, discover which payment methods are commonly used in your intended market before working to integrate them. Aim for three or more; keep in mind that customers desire options.
· Consider collaborating with a safe international payment gateway that accepts transactions in many currencies, such WorldPay, PayPal, or Stripe. The more you deal internationally, the more beneficial this alliance will be.
· Display all prices on your website in the local currency, and allow your customers to settle transactions in that currency, too.
· Be cautious of online fraud. Learn about the common fraud hotspots and the methods used by fraudsters. Insist on a bank transfer before mailing the items if your fraud radar starts to tingle.
5. Not shipping quickly enough
66% of consumers worldwide feel that when they purchase from a cross-border company, their orders would arrive later than promised, according to Statista. Unfortunately, many foreign customers will not even consider doing business with you because of this perception.
What you can do
· DHL Express can help you get your items where they need to be quickly because they are experts in worldwide logistics. We provide a time-critical option for our international shipping services that ensures delivery by 9:00/10:30/12:00 on the next business day (available in select markets). Additionally, with our help, you can give your clients complete monitoring and notifications so they can keep track of their shipments up until a helpful DHL courier brings it to their door. They'll have peace of mind, and your company will score more points.
· As an additional piece of advice, make sure your e-commerce website is open and honest about the charges associated with overseas delivery. Customers dislike being shocked by additional costs during the checkout process, and this is one of the biggest causes of cart abandonment.
6. Not adhering to customs rules
Shipping overseas involves a lot of paperwork. Each country has its own import policies, customs laws, lists of forbidden commodities, charges and taxes, and landed expenses. Navigating through this can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you're distributing to many nations. Even worse, if you fail to submit a piece of paperwork or fill anything out wrong, your shipment may be delayed in customs, which will not please your customers.
What you can do
· A partner like DHL can take care of this hassle for you. With a presence in over 220 countries and territories, there’s almost no market we can’t help you reach, whilst our customs experts will handle all the complex admin that comes with international shipping. Our clients vary from large retailers to small e-commerce start-ups run out of people’s bedrooms, so there’s no shipment too large, too small, or too unusual.
· You can have this hassle handled for you by a partner like DHL. With a presence in more than 220 countries and territories, there is hardly a market we can't assist you in reaching, and our customs experts will take care of all the intricate paperwork involved in international shipping. There is no cargo that is too huge, too small, or too strange for us to handle because our clientele range from large shops to tiny e-commerce start-ups operating out of people's bedrooms.
Check out our website for more guidance on setting your business up for global e-commerce, including how to define your brand strategy, tips to reduce your cart abandonment rate, and advice for getting the last mile right.