Are you already at that stage where you are considering expanding your business? Do you feel like selling abroad is the next natural step for your online growth?
We prepared a series of articles to help you with cross-border e-commerce. The first thing you need to think about is choosing the best market to expand to. Learn how to pick where to sell next by exploring our step-by-step guide here.
Before opening up your online business abroad, there are some crucial things that you need to have taken care of. Here are all the pieces of the puzzles needed to successfully prepare for cross-border e-commerce.
If you want to be successful selling abroad, think about the options to assign a Product Owner or a Product Manager for the new market. It’s best to find the right person responsible for your new business endeavors and build a team around him.
Having a dedicated Product Manager will guarantee you a thought-out strategy and very little chance of losing focus on the path of achieving your cross-border e-commerce goals.
The span needed to enter into the new market depends a lot on the work you have on your products.
You need to calculate the time that’s required to prepare your products before you start preparing anything else. If you have a lot of products, select carefully the ones you want to start with at the beginning. You also need to have in mind that the best sellers in your own country might not be the best sellers in the foreign market you’ve chosen to enter.
If you’re using Shopify and are looking for a quick and easy product management solution, you can check out some amazing PIM systems like Sheetly. With their product, you can easily import and manage up to 500 products in a spreadsheet environment that lets you edit everything in bulk.
Localization and Translations
Ask yourself how local you’d like to look in the eyes of your new customers. Research how important it is for your new market to set up a local company. Perhaps you could only have a company representative there. Check out VAT registration costs and compare each option carefully before you decide whether to set up locally, have a representative or do nothing but a local domain.
Whatever you decide though, it’s a must to have a local phone line as well as a local return address.
And last but not least, it’s important to participate in local business directories, marketplaces, and price comparison websites. This will grant you a good enough local brand awareness.
Choose the right courier
Using your current transportation partner just because he gives you good prices isn’t the right way to go. It’s best to find out their local partner and research their brand and reputation because it might not be the best local courier.
At some stage in the future, you might even consider working directly with a local company after you’ve weighed out the pros and cons.
Have in mind that more than 70% of customer disappointments come from high delivery costs and more than 30% from the slow delivery time. And as of 2021, 85% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping.
If you aren’t ready to receive a phone order in the local language, then you are not ready to sell there. It’s as simple as that. Invest in a local customer service team or a representative who knows the local language well.
You can also consider using an external call center service for the start of your journey. Some companies offer it as an additional service to transportation and logistics. It’s a good base to step on when you start with cross-border e-commerce.
Payment Methods and Refunds
When you are setting up in a new place, it’s important to invest in international payment methods but also in local payment methods. Familiarity on the checkout page has proven to boost the trust in your brand and decrease cart abandonment.
Another thing you mustn’t forget is the option to offer cash on delivery. This payment method is king when you’re starting, especially in a new market that has a trust issue with card details.
Next, you need to find a cheap and fast way to send money abroad to deal with your refunds. Here you can learn more about cross-border payments.
And last but definitely not least, build your marketing strategy. If you don’t have a marketing team, you should be on the lookout for an agency.
It’s a common mistake to work with local agencies that thrive in your new market or the best agencies in your own country. What you need to do is find a company that has huge expertise in your e-commerce sector in the desired market.
Apart from a marketing agency, you can also find local affiliate networks or marketplaces to speed up your growth.
To sum up
Above we’ve given you all the pieces of the puzzle that is cross-border e-commerce. We hope that thinking about each of these components gives you a general idea of what you need to do to succeed with the expansion of your business.
The next part of our cross-border e-commerce series is all the fundamentals you need to have before you open or as we’d like to call it, the cross-border e-commerce checklist. Stay tuned!