One of my favourite companies on the planet is @globemakers – Every time I see a picture of one of their incredible globes, it reminds me of our huge world, waiting to be explored. I know we all know this, but it’s so easy to forget due to our domestic, day to day – drama!
In 2017 will you dip your toe, or further your reach across Earth? Much of our fears in expanding internationally, are hidden in the unknown and the myths. New hurdles? Granted, but not impossible. Here are a few starting points:
- Where and Who – Become a detective and learn about your new customer, what they buy and how they shop. Gather market intelligence. Look and see if you’ve got countries buying from you already – this is a good place to start.
- Paying – A pretty important step, as the checkout is where the majority of shoppers abandon their purchases, especially if they’re abroad. As a shopper you want to feel trust, so research payment methods that are trusted in these countries. For example, in the Netherlands 60% of payments are by direct debit; while in Germany, 46% of payments are by online bank transfer.
- Regulations – Remember you’ll be dealing with a new rule book. Once you’ve decided where to sell, take the time to look into specific rules and regulations for that country. Think duties, taxes, customs and free-trade agreements.
- Shipping and Returns – After payment, this is one of the most important areas to ‘nail’. Make sure you set clear delivery expectations as it’s going to take longer and cost more and so it is vital to keep them in the loop. Great shipping calculators can be found online and of course many companies are going to want your business, so make sure you do a competitive review.
- Market Entry – Will you advertise your own site or sell on another? Make sure you optimise your own site for International buyers. Put yourself in their shoes and make sure you’ve got a great experience. Think about usability, language and cultural differences.
One of the roles I love as Ambassador to Creative Small Businesses, is to encourage export. It’s single handedly one of the best things to explore! I would highly reccomend visiting exportingisgreat.gov.uk, as it has 90% of what you need. Pluck up your courage to travel – Bon Voyage!