The “magic” of the internet means you can introduce your brick-and-mortar store to a global audience.You can sell your wares to the world but is it worth it? Before you go global, there are several things to consider on how to sell internationally.
1. A Website to Reach a Global Audience
If you just opt for a local presence, a website is helpful but not necessary. For international sales, a website is an absolute must. Sites such as Zepo, GoDaddy, and others can guide you through the process of making an e-commerce site. Simply choose a site name, write information about your shop, and then add products, descriptions, and prices. These platforms also help you set up online shopping carts, order forms, and other essentials. The process isn’t too expensive, but it can be time-consuming.
While making a website is easy, getting traffic is a bit more challenging. You may want to work with a search engine optimization specialist or a digital marketing company. They can add content to your website and optimize it so your site is more likely to get picked up by search engines.
2. Crossing Language Barriers
You may also need to consider whether your target clientele will understand your site. Depending on where you hope you make sales, you may need to write your website in a few different languages. There are digital tools that can do this, but they’re error-prone. To ensure perfection, you may need to hire a translator.
3. Choosing a Market
You may want to focus on a single country such as the United States, the United Arab Emirates, or Hong Kong, or you may want to ship to anywhere in the world. In both cases, you need to ensure there’s a demand in those locations. Some products are popular in one country but virtually unknown in other countries. In this situation, you need to figure out innovative ways to introduce your product and convince a global audience they need it.
Alternatively, you may want to look at internet searches for particular products in the countries where you’re trying to sell products. Google Trends lets you see the popularity of keywords in different regions of the world. If a product is already popular in your destination country, you need an angle that makes your product more attractive than the competition’s, such as lower prices, higher quality, or a more ethical production process. In other cases, you may want to focus on a niche group of customers. For instance, Indian expats who live in other countries and want a taste of home.
Before you start shipping orders, check that you can legally export goods to your destination countries, and familiarize yourself with the export process. You can also outsource this job to customs consultants who can research legalities and iron out logistical details. They can help you understand export laws, calculate excise taxes, and fill out customs forms. Some of these specialists also help with market research to ensure you’re making the most of your efforts.
Selling your products internationally can boost your revenue. Over time, your online presence may even outsell your brick-and-mortar shop. If you have an ample client base locally, you can work on this project slowly on the side. As sales start coming in, you’ll need to deal with currency conversions and foreign taxes. Fortunately, cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks can help.