Have you considered growing your market globally? This option might once have been limited to large corporate organizations, but cross-border ecommerce is now within the reach of almost any size or type of business.

In 2021 global internet penetration is almost 60% with 4.66billion active internet users. You can reach almost anywhere in the world via ecommerce.

While ecommerce growth in 2020 was an unprecedented 27%, in 2021 it is still expected to be more than 14%, representing a compelling opportunity. With the global economy predicted to grow by 4% this year, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Why sell globally?

Moving into overseas markets will allow your brand and your products to reach new customers and you can increase sales.

By the close of 2020, 1.4 billion people entered the global ‘middle class’ with money to spend, with the majority (85%) in the Asia Pacific region. If you are looking for expansion opportunities then you should certainly be looking to the East.

During the coronavirus pandemic many wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors started selling directly to their end users and customers in response to the pressure on their onward supply chain. Having moved to online selling, the next step into cross-border markets is easier to contemplate.

Importantly, you can protect your business from uncertainty by creating flexibility to access those markets that recover first and fastest as we move ahead from the pandemic. You will also add a level of protection against uncertainty in your home market.

With changing work patterns, you also have the opportunity to employ a high-calibre team in your new market that can be fully integrated with the rest of your organization.

Planning for international ecommerce

If international selling is new for your business, you might want to start with a limited number of products and one or two key markets.

Research – your starting point will be research to identify who your international customers could be, which products will interest them, how people shop and which countries they buy from.

You might already have some of this information if you accept orders from overseas, even if you’re not yet actively selling to these markets.

You might discover, for example, that there’s much more international online buying in smaller countries where choice is limited. You can find useful resources on the PasPort site.

Payments – another consideration will be how to handle international payments because this is a key point in your customer’s journey. You won’t want to create barriers that might cause them to abandon their purchase.

Preferred payment methods can be very different, depending on the country you choose. For example, it could be important to know that half of payments in the Netherlands are bank transfers via iDeal, while in Singapore more than a third of people prefer to pay online by credit card.

You can reduce abandoned carts by up to 20% by offering payment in the local currency, so it’s certainly an option worth considering.

You will also want to choose a payment provider with a good reputation for international payments that offers good security, purchase protection and ease of use across multiple devices.

Market access – when you enter a new market you can start by selling on an existing online marketplace, you can update your current website, or set up a local web presence.

For example, marketplaces like eBay can provide an initial entry-point to test demand for your products. Allegro is popular in Europe while Amazon is supreme in the US.

You can update your existing website simply to show that you accept international orders, with information about the countries you serve and shipping costs. When you have established that there’s demand, you can go on to list products in local currencies for visitors with overseas IP addresses, and add a multi-language option.

If you’re ready to make an immediate investment in one or more international markets you can build dedicated websites with a local domain name designed to appeal to the local audience. If you choose this route you will need to make sure translations, currency conversions and shipping costs are accurate.

Shipping – choosing the right international shipping options will allow you to operate efficiently in overseas markets. The simplest option is to work with a global fulfilment company so that you can benefit from their experience and network.

Local shippers in your new market can also help you to compete with other local businesses.

Work with experts

Williams Commerce is a recognized partner for global ecommerce providers including Magento, BigCommerce and Shopify Plus and we work with ecommerce businesses around the world. Our ecommerce consultancy team will be happy to discuss your plans for global growth, so please get in touch.