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10 TIPS: How to build an international eCommerce business?

In one of our previous articles, we showed you our three-step cross-border strategy for your eCommerce business. Now, we want to tackle this subject again and help you build a successful, international eCommerce company. The challenge is tremendous, but so are the opportunities that await you just around the corner. If you are interested in scaling your business, it is your must-have post!


When it comes to business, we live in fascinating times. Promoting your company and selling globally has never been easier. Thanks to the internet and social media, you can reach potential customers in almost every country on Earth within minutes!


Still, if you want to go global with your eCommerce company, you should bear in mind some crucial aspects of the cross-border expansion. Above all, you have to make sure you have everything figured out regarding:

 

  • Finances and law
  • Marketing and customer service
  • Logistics


These are three fundamental fields of growing your online store. Now, let us dig deeper and see what the essential practical elements of these areas are.

 

Finances and law


There are no shortcuts here. You have to know the legal regulations that apply to your eCommerce business in a given country and stick to them.


Tip 1: Check legal regulations before entering a new country


The only way to do that is to conduct thorough research. The very first aspect you should be vitally interested in is personal data protection. For instance, in countries within the European Union, you have to stick to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Other large markets have their regulations as well. You can find out more about them here:

 


However, we recommend working with a specialized legal consultant who knows the given country’s regulations inside out.


Also, keep in mind that you’ll need a dedicated privacy policy and terms and conditions for each country. A corporate lawyer should prepare these documents. The same rules apply to the return policy. According to the “E-commerce Product Return Rate–Statistics and Trends” report, 67% of shoppers check the return regulations page before making a purchase.


Tip 2: Get familiar with the demanded payment options


Currently, there are dozens of possible payment options available worldwide. You should choose only these that are:

 

  • Quick
  • 100% secure (for you and your customers)
  • Technically reliable

 

Find out what the payment options are in each country. For instance, in the North American countries, PayPal is your must have. In Europe, there are other options. In Poland, for example, more and more popular are instant money transfers called BLIK.


Tip 3: Make sure you have enough financial resources


Entering a new country is in many ways like building an entirely new company. You have to secure significant financial resources that can be invested in this endeavor, especially at the beginning. How much money do you need? Well, as always, the answer is it depends. The good news is you already have a website, a warehouse, and a network of partners. Therefore, you ought to invest money in:

 

  • The translation/localization services
  • Online marketing campaigns
  • Staff and contractors in a new country

 

Marketing and customer service

 

In general, performance marketing is the quickest way to promote your business internationally. Read more about this strategy here. But there are more things you should consider.


Tip 4: Adapt your USP


The USP abbreviation stands for Unique Selling Point. It’s your distinguishing quality, something that makes you stand out from your competitors. It can be something simple, such as the longest return time, for instance. Frequently, USP is called competitive advantage. However, before entering a new market, you have to understand how your USP can be adapted to fit the new localization. Make sure it’s efficient and tailored to your new customers’ needs.


Tip 5: You need a versatile eCommerce platform


If you want to start your cross-border expansion, you need a scalable eCommerce platform that’s up for the challenge. Make sure that the platform of your choice offers:

 

  • Many language versions
  • Ease of moderation
  • Administration per country (taxes, payments, documents)


Thankfully, there are many platforms commercially available that are designed to handle large, international stores. Take a look at Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and PrestaShop.

 


Tip 6: Create a marketing/customer engagement strategy


This is an absolute necessity. You can have the best platform and a perfectly written privacy policy, but if you don’t know how to promote your business and engage your customers to buy more, it’s all for nothing.


Your strategy should comprise all the relevant areas and elements, and these are:

 

  • Online marketing
  • User experience (UX)
  • Customer service and communication
  • Social media presence


Make sure your new customers will know how to find you and think about how to make them want to purchase your products. Acquiring a customer is one thing, but you should also think about retaining them. That’s why you need a customer engagement strategy. It should consist of:

 

  • Email marketing
  • Loyalty programs and VIP clubs
  • Discounts and special offers for regular customers


Tip 7: Localize your content


In our three-step cross-border strategy, we told you that you have to translate all your texts and documents. And that’s 100% true, but when it comes to your website’s content, you need something more, and that’s localization. It’s a comprehensive translating service that addresses all the cultural and non-textual components of the translated text, as well as other linguistic issues. In other words, texts are not just translated; they are adapted to the cultural and social context, as well as other specific conditions in a given country. Thanks to this service, translated texts sound natural, easy to read, and correspond to everyday communication.

 

Luckily, today, every reputable translation agency offers a localization service.


Tip 8: Take care of your social media presence


Many international companies decide to create separate social media profiles for each country. And that's a good thing because it enables much more personalized communication. You have to remember, though, that the method of communication in social media varies depending on a country. That’s why you ought to cooperate with people who know the given market and put them in charge of social media communication.


Another interesting way of building your social media presence and brand awareness is to find local influencers that will help you promote your store. Thanks to their large target audiences and real influence on other people’s choices, you can quickly grow your sales in a new market.


Logistics


Finally, there’s the logistics issue. Cross-border shipping can be a tricky and costly assignment. Thankfully, there are various ways to outsource and optimize this aspect of running the online store.


Tip 9: Offer parcel tracking


It’s a worldwide standard. Every modern courier company offers parcel tracking, and so should you, as an eCommerce business owner. Each time a customer places an order, provide them with a parcel tracking number so that they can check their package’s whereabouts. It’s an excellent way to build proper CX and your reputation of a reliable online store.


Tip 10: Find yourself a logistics operator


Logistics operators are companies that allow you to outsource all your logistics processes. They handle storage, picking and packing, shipping, and returns. You don’t even have to run a warehouse! It’s a fantastic opportunity to lower your overall logistics costs and save time. If you’d like to find out more about this solution, feel free to contact us! At Omnipack, we offer a full-stack order fulfillment service. We are eager to show you all the benefits of this solution!
 

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