International eCommerce – All you should know about

August 10, 2020
Written by:
International eCommerce

International eCommerce is selling your products or services online through eCommerce websites across borders to other foreign countries.

E-commerce’s share of total retail sales is expected to rise over 15% in 2022 from 8.9% in 2017, totaling nearly 892 billion (apx) US dollars.

With the rise in digital and internet penetration worldwide, the number of online shoppers is expected to continue growing over the coming years, proving that eCommerce is an increasingly profitable option for businesses.

Countries like the US, Canada, Australia, China prefer online shopping. According to the US International Trade Administration, about 87% of Americans and 84% of Canadians have shopped online. The top largest eCommerce companies in the world are-

  • Amazon – United States
  • Jingdong – China
  • Alibaba – China
  • eBay – United States
  • Rakuten – Japan
  • B2W – Brazil
  • Zalando – Germany
  • Groupon – United States

Explore before expansion

Building an international presence for your business requires a lot of skills, efforts, and research besides a high budget. Therefore, check on certain things before you start functioning.

Operational Measures

Check for your internal operations such as skillset employees, human resources, finances, shipping handlers, and marketing strategy.

For expanding internationally, you require experienced employees or who are willing to learn and invest time in this business.

It requires continuous effort and time so you must be equipped with accomplished people and resources.

Demand and Supply

This is an important aspect of every business. Conduct Google research and SEO insights on your products to make sure the countries are worth investments.

These reports will help you keep track of the number of visitors on your website, the existing customers’ search traffic, and the average consumption rate.

This way you will know the demand for goods in the country you prefer to expand.

Competitive Advantage

Observe closely and take advantage of what your competitors have missed or ignored. There was a time when the traditional market was more preferred and online selling was ignored, making it harder to later gain market share.

For example, in Belgium, other countries like German, French, and Dutch companies have larger market shares than Belgian retailers for this very reason.

Discover the Scope of Expansion

Survey your needs to expand. Ecommerce operations are much easier than setting up a physical store.

So, check if you need to set up a brick and mortar store, and the consumer’s requirements match your business or not.

Understanding the values, behaviors, and responses of shoppers, before you make your move is crucial for success.

Key Factors to consider when expanding international

Consider these key factors before expanding your eCommerce internationally. It will not only help you establish your business but will also help you to capture the international market.

Language and Localization

When you are expanding your business cross-border, it is important to optimize your business into the preferred language.

Although English is the most common language used still in some countries like Spain, Germany, China won’t easily grasp idioms or nuances. As it is seen that around 75% of the global audience wants to buy products in their native language.

What is localization? Well, it means you need to adapt everything local such as your website content, your payment methods, your strategy, shipping options, time zones, and cultural perceptions. Asos a British online giant is the best example which has done great in localizing their business

Currency and Payments

Customers are more likely to abandon the purchase if the pricing is in foreign currency. Converting prices into local currency is an easy task to be accomplished.

The real issue rises while payment, as most of the countries especially Southeast Asians still prefer cash on deliveries, mobile wallets, or bank transfers whereas Americans and Europeans are comfortable paying in cards. Hence, it is important to optimize your payment options for easy check-outs.

Logistics and Shipping

This is another important factor you need to look upon. Partnering with local shipping companies makes it cost-effective, convenient, and reduces delivery time. Shipping cost is another reason why customers abandon the payment.

Taxes and Legal Regulations

Every country follows a specific set of rules and regulations. When you expand your business cross-border, research for the international laws and whether your product is allowed to sell in that country or not.

Technology and Data Security

Technology has a drastic effect on eCommerce business as most of the consumers purchase online carried out through mobile devices. Therefore, the mobile-first approach is taking the online industry by storm.

Your eCommerce business should abide by the data security laws of the country you tend to expand. As the illegal use of data is restricted and a punishable act in most of the countries.

There are more areas to focus on such as optimum customer service, collaborate with local influencers, make use of social media, set up responsive web designs, and check on sales by country.

Wrapping Up

International e-commerce allows more agile and smaller companies to enter into emerging markets and organize themselves as market leaders.

Keep researching and focus on long-term goals because capturing the international market demands commitment.


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