Taking your product line into the worldwide market is exhilarating and risky, but the rewards are substantial and include access to a larger customer base and huge business growth potential. You'll be happier with your efforts to attract global shoppers if you do a bit more than throw your product line out there and hope a foreign market finds you. Instead, reach your global goals far easier through research and localisation.
Here are 3 tips when starting your efforts to attract global shoppers:
If you get overwhelmed, focus on your goals
International shoppers have come to expect much more enticement and support from online retailers than a half-hearted catalog you would be embarrassed to offer in the United States. Focus on learning about your customers and delivering niche products first as you dip your toes in international e-commerce waters. If you aren't sure which market to research first and you feel overwhelmed, start with your own business goals. Which of your products do you want to push for your overseas sales program?
If you sell shoes and want to grow your sandal market, be aware that it's summertime in Australia and other locations during the Christmas holidays. A flat sandal-selling winter in the U.S. can be a top-selling season in another location, but you won't know this until you do your research.
Likewise, you can sell more fancy muck boots in the UK during the festival season—if you know when that occurs and which social media accounts and festival forums are popular. Those same fancy festive boots will be popular in India during the very important season of Diwali (also called the "Festival of Lights"), which occurs during the rainy month of October. Learn about the holidays, birthday customs, and other gift-giving and apparel-wearing traditions of the markets you wish to grow and your marketing will become more personal and effective.
Study and appeal to diverse shopping habits
Shoppers from China, Brazil, Korea and other markets are now accustomed to having many options, but they don't all have the same habits, so you need to make all types of shoppers feel at ease. Offer as many payment and delivery options as you can for repeat business.
According to one study, 86% of Chinese shoppers purchased products using social media. If you want to grow your Chinese customer base, you'd better have click-to-buy social media tools available for your brand. You should also have ongoing analytics gauging the success of all your social media campaigns so you can further target your marketing efforts to those customers most likely to buy from social media approaches.
But you should also realize that Chinese customers are less likely than other shoppers to check their e-mail or respond to e-mail campaigns. Knowing this helps you save time and resources targeting email campaigns to other desirable markets that do respond to them.
Search results matter
If you want to attract customers, it's hard to argue with the 85% of retailers who use search marketing, from SEO to paid positioning. Online shoppers want quick results, so you need to get your site at the top of the search engine page.
Having good content no matter the language is a key to overcoming the search engine hurdle. Pay extra for decent translations, and have all of your pages checked over for correct syntax, spelling, and grammar. It's a good idea to hire one or more fluent speakers and writers of the languages spoken and used in e-commerce in your target markets. Your videos and social media posts will be less likely to be laughed at or misinterpreted if you have a native speaker on the payroll looking out for language errors and pitfalls.
Make sure you have other international e-commerce tools to help raise your rankings, including currency conversion, clear shopping, shipping, and return policies spelled out in each language and localized content that you provide to each market.
Take the plunge into global sales if you want to grow your business. But know the waters well before you jump.