Deciding to expand your online business is always difficult, especially when you want to conquer international markets. And expanding internationally has almost become necessary.
The eCommerce industry is growing by leaps and bounds every year and has become a major contributor to the global economy. If you look closely, international eCommerce has played a crucial role in saving frail economies and turning them into promising markets. The growth of global eCommerce has been phenomenal and this is only set to grow: Statistics indicate that worldwide eCommerce accounted for US$3.53 trillion in 2019. This is projected to grow to US$6.54 trillion by 2023. This estimated increase proves that the industry is here to stay.
Thus, getting into the global eCommerce market should be a key priority for every online business. This is easier said than done. You’ll need to do indulge in a lot of research and planning before you take the leap and become a successful global online retailer.
To help expand your PrestaShop business overseas, we’ve put together a list of strategies that you need to know.
Let’s get started.
Understand and Identify Target Markets
Selling in the foreign markets is a very broad goal, and in reality, most retailers won’t be able to sell to every country. Here comes the need to research and be very specific about your target markets by identifying the regions where your products can perform.
Before taking your brand to any market, evaluate different markets worldwide, understand their consumers as well as demographics. Remember not to be hasty and not to just look at numbers. Dig deep to figure out what products are most popular in your target markets and decide whether that market will actually be feasible and profitable for you.
Understand Your Competition
Another important factor in international eCommerce is competition. Researching and understanding your competitors is extremely crucial to long term success. Try evaluating their value proposition and finding any gaps in their business that you can fill. Further, identify any mistakes that they might be making and avoid doing the same.
Though it can be a tough job to navigate the international market, however, once you start analyzing your competitors, you have the best chance of staying ahead of the game.
Taxes and Government Regulations
Another big research ahead – one that’s again crucial and necessary. As soon as you finalize the market you want to sell in, find out its taxation and government regulations.
In my opinion, don’t try the easy way. Hire eCommerce or PrestaShop experts who are well-acquainted with the hows and whys so that you not just end up saving time but get precise information as well. Usually, taxes are the same for the whole country but, for instance, in Canada or the US, they might be different for each province or state.
Further, different countries have different terms and conditions for storing customers sensitive information – research. Also, ensure you have PIPEDA (for Canada) or the GDPR (for the European Union citizens) procedure implemented in case of a security breach.
Make Sure Your Website is Made for Local Audiences
Every country has its own idiosyncrasies thus making international eCommerce expansion a bit tricky. For example, a website design that works in the UK might not work well in the US.
To be successful, improve your PrestaShop store’s UX and use a website that works specifically within your target market. Your strategy might be as simple as translating your website into the local language or as advanced as completely redesigning the website into a format that works within that market. You could ho a step ahead by getting a local domain name. This will make it all way easier for customers to trust and shop from you, thus leading to enhanced sales.
Similarly, don’t overlook currency conversions. Majority of the eCommerce platforms have adapted to the fast-paced international landscape and optimized their websites for multiple currencies. Make sure you to implement the same to offer a more personalized experience to local customers. After all, the latest eCommerce trends emphasize on personalised shopping experiences for customers.
Shipping and Returns
Efficient shipping is the backbone of an online retail business. This is especially true for international eCommerce. Handling and managing international shipping properly is the key to global success.
Yes, the shipping rates for international shipping can be high, but if you understand the process and choose the correct courier service, you can keep these as low as possible and maintain a good profit margin.
Also, returns are a part and parcel of eCommerce businesses. You can never get rid of them completely. The best you can do is handle them properly. Make sure you have a good and clear returns policy that is explicitly stated on your website. This way, customers are always well-aware of your return policy before they buy. Additionally, local fulfillment centers can be very helpful in handling returns.
Even though selling online internationally can be challenging, it’s a business decision that is worth making. There are endless opportunities and being successful isn’t as hard as you may think. Following the above steps, doing research and coming up with solid strategies for marketing will definitely help you expand globally.