The United States has a good market for almost everything. However, expanding your business’s reach internationally has become easier than ever with the rise of global e-commerce. Before you try to start selling to an international customer base, ask yourself if there is a need or want for your service or product in other countries. Additionally, look into what it is going to take to get your business up and running in another country. Once you decide that a global market is a good fit for your company, here are 3 tips to start and grow your international customer base.
Find your target market: When expanding to international customers, it is important to remember that their culture may differ from yours. Start by doing some research. See where you already might have international customers, or a lot of customers interested in your product, and try expanding into your existing market. Look and see what countries have a demand for your product or a gap in the industry. Research spending patterns and what demographics make the most online purchases. Even if you only test out a few products or services to begin with, this will help you determine if you will be successful with a certain target market before spending a great amount of time and funds.
Localize: Localizing is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when expanding globally. Keep in mind each countries currency and let customers pay with that. Make sure you give customers a choice on which language they prefer as well, rather than assuming a language based on location. Payment method preferences tend to very by country, and it is crucial to offer a variety of convenient options to keep international customers satisfied.
Consider new ideas when bringing your product or service to new countries. You want to remain true to your brand, but make sure that you adapt to the local environment. You might need to make small changes to the product or service depending on the needs of that country. Keep in mind that international customers might have different customs which could require a different sales approach. Mike Zani, the CEO of PI Worldwise said “Time zones, language and cultural appropriateness all need to be considered when you branch out internationally. If you don’t do this ahead of time, you run the risk of offending your international partners by appearing to be more concerned about yourself [than] them.”
Market entry: To enter a new, international market, you can optimize your current website to allow customers from other countries to order your products, or you can choose to set up a local web presence in the countries of you choice. One way to start small with new market entry is to test your product on a website like eBay or Amazon. This will allow you to see how your products sell without taking the time to redeveloping your website. They also allows you test selling to a wider reach for a lower cost. If you are confident that your products will sell well, then you can go ahead an optimize your website for international business. Let users know that you are selling internationally, and list the countries that you will ship to. You can also add a multi-language toggle for your website. The last option, and the most advanced, is to create a website specifically for the country (or countries) you are selling to. This open is the most time consuming and expensive, however it allows you to design the website and products specifically to your target demographic for that country. Doing this will give you better perspective on what is and is not working for those customers, and will allow you to customize it to their needs.
It is important to keep in mind that just because something works for customers in the United States, does not mean that it will necessarily work for customers in other countries. Expanding your business internationally is a great way to expand, as well as let customers outside of the United States use your great products. If you need a safe and secure payment processor for domestic or international sales, please contact BMT Micro at firstname.lastname@example.org.