January 2019 | Commentary | E_Commerce

Maximizing Global E-Commerce Profits

Tags: E-commerce, Logistics, Supply Chain

Chris Mehlfelder, Vice President, Marketing, UPS, 732-837-1172

With 7 billion prospective customers out there, how can e-commerce companies not grow wealthy by expanding internationally? But, as with most things in business, international e-commerce is not as simple as it sounds. It takes work, planning, and investment, but the profit potential is very real.

When branching out internationally, you'll be able to get a good start if you keep the following three steps in mind.

1. Enable. Be sure your site feels like a domestic site in every market. Here's how:

  • Supply content in the shopper's native language. If possible, work with a provider to get away from machine translation and into human translation to capture the "voice" of the consumer.
  • Check the currency used on the product. Currency may be the most important thing to translate!

  • Enable the right payment methods. Nothing stops a transaction faster than an inability to pay. Determine the most common credit cards in the shopper's market.
  • Balance the speed and cost of deliveries. Offer an option that will deliver products within one week of the order along with an expedited option. The desire to "have it now" is present overseas.
  • Protect yourself and your customers from fraud. Fraud rates are higher internationally.

2. Optimize your site and your logistics.

  • Work with your transportation provider to reach customers more quickly and affordably in each market. Conform to local shopper expectations for delivery time and trackability.
  • Run simple promotions. For example, offer free shipping at certain order size thresholds. Customers around the world demand these seemingly small perks.
  • Immerse yourself in the lifestyle of your new customers. Be sure your marketing is ready for the culture. Know all the local holidays and offer appropriate specials.

3. Invest. Local marketing is the key to real success, and good marketing requires investing.

  • Create a local social media presence. Younger shoppers in particular do many of their product evaluations on social media.
  • Find and enable local influencers to help with your social media marketing.
  • Be sure you're on the right marketplaces. In many countries, shoppers use marketplaces much more than retailers' websites. Don't miss an opportunity to have eyes on your products.

One more important point: List the actual total cost for international customers for each product on your site. Tariffs and duties can be expensive, and many customers will refuse delivery if they find added costs at their doorsteps. Give complete information up front.

International e-commerce can be complex, but for small or mid-sized companies, partnering with a company that already has the expertise can help you get started more quickly and safely.

There really is a world of customers waiting for you. Find the right partners to be sure you're ready and get to work.






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