This is a guest post by Nate Vickery, the senior editor at Bizzmark Blog.
Launching an online shop is a huge step towards global business expansion. Unlike location based stores which only target local population and travelers who are passing through their area, e-commerce businesses can easily sell their goods worldwide. The only major obstacle that can limit their geographic reach is the size of their delivery network. In this article we’ll share some great tips that will help you to improve the customer reach of your online store and to take advantage of the dynamic international retail market.
Optimize your store with different languages
If you plan to target international customers, adding some of the most widely spoken languages to your ecommerce website is an absolute must. You also need to optimize the content that’s related to your foreign customers, including: blog posts, emails, search results etc. This type of optimization will allow non-English speaking website visitors to review and understand your retail offer.
There are several language apps that can help you to optimize your website and its content. These apps usually come with some of the following features:
- Automatic language detection – Visitors don’t need to choose the preferred language, because the app redirects them automatically;
- Meta tags translation – Optimizes your store for foreign search engine queries;
- Support for right to left languages – Enables you to target users from the Middle East;
- Image translation support – Helps you to translate image and button text;
Introduce alternative payment methods
Many e-commerce companies only offer paying methods that are specific to their local market. If you plan to open your online store for international shoppers, you need to offer them alternative payment methods, which they can use from any location. Your checkout page should include several online payment systems.
Online payment system selection has never been harder, due to wide variety of paying options that are used on different markets. If you have a preferred market, you should choose a payment system that’s popular in that specific country. If not, you need to choose a system that doesn’t block users on the count of their bank preference, current location or citizenship.
Convert your prices
Creating localized user experience is one of the most important goals for online stores that target consumers on the international market. Currency, together with language is one of the main localization parameters and that’s why e-commerce websites should display their prices in currencies their customers use in everyday life.
This localization setting can be easily achieved with utilizing currency converting apps. Together with language apps, online store currency converters create a shopper-friendly user experience and enable customers to easily compare prices of their favorite products.
Choose the right courier
A good and flexible courier service is the essential element of international retail business operation. There is no easy way to summarize delivery options. Delivery price depends on the size of the package, shopper’s location, insurance preferences etc. There are special companies that handle retail logistics. These companies often work with e-commerce startups and understand their wants and needs. It’s always better to rely on specialized e-commerce courier, who offers international shipping services, than on big delivery companies, like FedEx or DHL.
Choose international tracking
Product shipping is one of the most complex e-commerce operations. If you are planning to ship your products across borders, you may expect long delays caused by customs procedures. This can undermine customer trust and cause dozens of other issues. In order to prevent future misunderstandings, you should offer international delivery tracking to your buyers.
You can offer it as an extra feature or as the part of your regular delivery service. Delivery tracking as an extra feature is a great way to reimburse your costs if you’re offering free shipping to your customers. Most courier companies offer delivery tracking as a regular part of their plans, so in most cases this feature won’t create any extra costs.
E-commerce is one of the most perspective and competitive retail niches. According to eMarketer, the B2C sales are expected to reach $2.3 trillion before 2017. The e-commerce growth is huge in the United States, Europe and Canada, but also in BRICS countries. Countries like China, India, Brazil and Russia are quickly adopting e-commerce practices and that’s why local online stores need to reshape their business plan and start conquering the international market in order to use the full potential of the e-commerce business model.
Nate Vickery is a business consultant and a blogger. He is mostly engaged in streamlining small business processes and startup growth hacking. Nate is also a senior editor at Bizzmarkblog.com.