As the world gets more and more digitized, businesses are moving towards e-commerce sales. According to research conducted by eMarketer, global e-commerce sales will become worth more than $4 trillion within this year, 2021. The current pandemic has shifted the focus of even more businesses to make online sales.
When you sell your products over the internet, you can pretty much sell them to anybody in the world, whichever location or country they are in. The only thing is that you need to be able to handle the shipment process effectively.
If a company is able to handle its international sales, it gets huge leverage against its competitors. Its revenue increases, its brand image enhances, and eventually, it is able to sell at higher prices than others.
International sales and marketing are an integral part of any growing business these days. To penetrate global markets, businesses often need to make product line extensions and figure out how to ship the products to their international customers. Many online merchants struggle to make this shift, i.e. handling the logistics involved in cross-border delivery of products. They know the advantages of making international sales but are not ready to pivot their ecommerce strategies to fine-tune their selling process for global market business.
Before we dive into the things businesses need to consider to prepare themselves for global expansion, let’s talk about the importance of making international sales.
The Importance of International Sales and Marketing
The global expansion comes with a business’s ability to make international sales. If you are able to manufacture and sell global market products, you can get a whole new slice of revenue for your business every quarter. But besides the extra revenue segment, your business can benefit from international sales in several other ways as well.
1. Large and Diversified Customer Base
International sales and marketing require a business to interact with a more diversified pool of potential customers. To penetrate into new cultures and environments, a business needs to tweak its brand management strategies. People from different localities need to be able to relate to its brand message. But if a business can do this successfully, it can build a much broader customer base.
The larger the customer base you have, the more secure your streams of income become. If one economy is facing a downturn, you can make international sales from another country. This helps to keep your business intact because you are now not putting all your eggs in one basket. Global expansion gives you the benefit of having multiple streams of revenue that comes from a diversified customer base. Each country you add to your list of target customers potentially opens up a separate pathway for business growth.
According to the 2016 FedEx Trade Index, a research conducted by Morning Consult, businesses geared towards global expansion claim to be growing faster and recruiting more staff than the smaller businesses that do not show interest in international sales.
2. Reduced Competition
The local market for a business can often become crowded with competition. Still, when the same products are introduced in another country, there is a chance of having less competition there. That’s why making international sales can sometimes reduce the overall competition that a business has to face.
Take the example of a firm selling language courses or teaching multilingual skills. Let’s say it teaches the national language of the country to its citizens. But when the firm introduces these courses to a new country, the language will be new and foreign to that country, and thus the courses will have very little competition there.
The image below is a screenshot from a company’s website that built an app to teach Chinese to its users via visual stories.
Image taken from Strikingly user’s website
3. Longer Product Lifespan
Your local sales for a particular product might dip at any point in time due to the change in trends in the local market. There are times when even cross-merchandising different products don’t help in keeping up the sales.
But if you are selling the product globally, its international sales might still sustain. Maybe your customers in other countries still like the features of your product, or maybe they do not yet have a good substitute available for it. For these reasons, your overall product life span will not end here when your local sales for it fall. Your overseas customers will continue buying it from you. This is how international sales and global expansion often help in extending the lifespan of your products.
4. Easier Cash Flow Management
International clients usually make payments for their purchases upfront. This can be a huge benefit for your business, making it easier for you to manage your cash. This is actually more like a hidden advantage of making international sales.
When you sell your products locally, you and your suppliers and distributors tend to be more creative in managing your payments and cash. You might often have to wait to receive payments from some of your more prominent local clients. But when you have a global market business, it is like a general practice to request upfront payments.
5. Better Risk Management
The factors discussed above all combine to provide better risk management to companies that make international sales. When a business operates in a diversified market and sells global market products, it can keep itself safe from the losses it might face due to the downturns in the local economy. If your business is less dependent on a single market, it is easier to mitigate potential risks from environmental events, political factors, and other local risk factors.
6. Currency Exchange Benefits
Running a global market business requires you to interact with many different currencies. In most cases, you might be able to benefit from currency fluctuations. For example, when your local currency is down, you can export more of your products and make more international sales to benefit from the higher value currencies during that time. Making international sales can also enable you to leverage export financing.
7. Enhanced Brand Equity
International sales and marketing is an excellent way to enhance your brand equity. If you are successful in one country, it will boost your brand’s reputation, and your customers in another country will get influenced by that. This is why international sales often increase the credibility of your business, both in the local and overseas markets. This benefit of global expansion is often ignored because it is difficult to quantify, but it is true.
8. Opportunity to Specialize
Making international sales opens up opportunities for new product ideas and new product lines. When you learn about the demand of new markets, you also develop opportunities to specialize in a different area of your industry. Exposure to global market business sparks innovations, efficiencies, and upgrades for your products and services. You never know how far you can go when you open up to new experiences, ideas, and feedback from your overseas customers.
Things You Need to Consider Before Going for a Global Market Business
Expanding into a global market business is, of course, not free from challenges. You need to do certain things or have to be fully prepared for making international sales.
1. Offer More Ways to Pay
You might currently offer primary payment methods like Visa, MasterCard, Paypal, etc on your online store. But when you start making international sales, you might find out that some international shoppers do not necessarily prefer these standard payment forms.
For example, if you plan to sell your global market products to the UK, you would discover that UK customers like to use not-so-common payment methods like direct debits, real-time bank transfers, and mobile payments.
If you build a website in Strikingly, you can select from among the leading payment gateways that we have for you to accept payments from your global customers. With Strikingly, your customers can pay via Stripe, Paypal, or Square, or even use their credit card (Visa, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, Discover) to make purchases from your site.
Image taken from Strikingly
2. Increase Your Search Visibility
Before you start making international sales, you must optimize your product pages for your local market. When you go for global expansion, you need to make your website multilingual and optimize it for showing up in international search results. You would need to work on your SEO, so that when Google shows results to users based on geographical proximity, your website can still show up in the results of all those countries you are targeting.
If your website is in Strikingly, you can track your site’s visitors from the Strikingly analytics.
Image taken from Strikingly
3. Improve Your Shipment Services and Shipping Policy
You must have a shipping policy for making international sales successfully. If you are running an ecommerce site in Strikingly, you can easily add shipment tracking to your store to enable you to track all your international orders efficiently. Strikingly is integrated with FedEx, USPS, and UPS.
Image taken from Strikingly
Having a website built in Strikingly makes it easy for you to start making international sales. If you are looking for a website builder to build an online store and sell your products in the global market, you can sign up for your free account in Strikingly today.