According to a Nielsen research study, by 2018 about 130 million people are expected to buy online from a country other than their own, spending an estimated $307 billion, which will be nearly triple the amount spent in 2013. So if you have aspirations of doing business across borders to diversify your customer base, here are some things to get right.
Get your site ‘global’ ready
Apart from language modifications, your SEO strategy has to adapt so that your customers and search engines rapidly recognize country-specific content. Do this by introducing localized prefixes for each URL (i.e., redirecting to .mu in Mauritius or .ng in Nigeria). Incorporate a centralized backend toolkit which can automatically update banners and other localized content so it appears in the right format and language.
Show prices in local currency
If customers don’t know how much things cost in their own currency, they are less likely to complete the purchase because they can’t tell if it’s a good deal or not. Avoid losing sales by offering real time currency conversions which take any confusion away and increase the level of trust customers have in your store.
Be transparent about real costs
Consumers want to know the full cost of a purchase at the outset. Your backend should automatically calculate duties and taxes based on the customer’s location and purchases. Each country has its own customs policies, duties and taxes, so include all costs upfront to prevent unexpected fees adding up or an order getting stuck at the border.
Offer easy and flexible shipping
Higher shipping costs often go hand in hand with trading internationally, so provide several flexible options for customers. Some may be happy to wait longer in order to pay less, while others are willing to spend more to receive their items quickly. Be sure to integrate a variety of shipping services so that you have back up if something goes wrong with one supplier. Protect yourself and your customers by making tracking information available and offering insurance.
Taking on a new challenge such as selling in other countries requires some planning beforehand, so be smart about putting in the systems that will support your growth as you expand your footprint.