Let’s talk international commerce. If you’re an enterprising individual or business there’s no reason as to why you should avoid marketing outside of your home country. We all know that the internet has changed the game and made international commerce easier than ever, so why keep dodging the bullet?
While international buying and selling has never been easier, there are still some simple pitfalls and snares that any business owner can fall prey to without a little research. The six tips listed below are all things that are imperative to consider when opening your business up to the international market.
Everyone on the web speaks English, right? Wrong. While English is a very common second language in some parts of the world, a J.P. Morgan study revealed that less than 30% of internet users speak English fluently. Now, that doesn’t mean you should limit your business only to parts of the world that speak English fluently, but it does mean that you’ll need to invest a little time in translation for major outlets like your website and digital marketing materials.
Avoid Being Unintentionally Offensive
Pay attention to your voicing. Slang can vary greatly from country to country, so investing a little extra time upfront to determine any gaps in terminology or potentially offensive words can help avoid any unintentional gaffs down the line. If all you know of the country you’re looking to sell to is what you see on the news, you’ll need to do some deeper digging.
Do Your Due Diligence
Entering into the international market doesn’t mean that all traditional approaches go out the window. Conducting the same research as you would when entering a new marketing in your home country is just as important when it comes to international markets. Who is your direct competition? What licenses might you need to acquire? Do you need to establish a physical presence? These are all important questions to ask – especially when opening up shop in a new country.
Either by explore online communities or by physically visiting your new market, you need people you can trust. Tap into your home network to see if any of your current connections or business partners have trusted resources of their own that they would be willing to introduce you to. Navigating business in a new country can be made much easier when you already have a partner or mentor who knows the lay of the land.
Protect Your Investment
If you’re going to be shipping large quantities of goods internationally you’ll need a reliable way to accept payment and draw up purchase agreements. Online escrow services can be a great protection for both the buyer and seller in international transactions – especially if neither party is very familiar with the other. Escrow can also be a substantial cost savings over more traditional payment methods of international payment.
Unless you have a wealth of resources and funds available, it may not be in your best interest to make a big splash early on in a new market. Through your network and research, find a few niche communities where your product is in demand. Once you’ve tested your processes with a smaller audience and tested the waters you can easily begin expanding to larger and larger consumer groups.
For more tips and tricks when it comes to international commerce, be sure to check out our post with helpful tips regarding international shipping.