We hear a lot about eCommerce businesses these days, but one phrase that we hear less frequently is eTail. eCommerce refers to a much broader set of activities and selling online, such as retail, supply chains, mobile commerce, digital marketing and more.
Whereas eTail is more specific and refers to the selling of retail products and services via the internet. As such, eTail businesses tend to focus primarily on the B2C segment, though there are some B2B brands out there.
If you’ve already set up a successful eTail business, you might be wondering how you can take it to the next level, and the natural progression is usually to reach out to a global market.
But isn’t this a lot of work?
It’s true that you’ll certainly have to put the effort in, but selling to an international audience comes with so many great benefits. Not least of all because you’ll be opening your business up to a much larger audience of quite literally millions more consumers.
So how do you go about making your eTail store global? Well, that’s exactly what this guide has been created to tell you.
1. Do Your Research
First and foremost, you need to make sure you spend some time conducting thorough research. This is because there is a big difference between trading nationally and trading globally, and to be successful, you need to understand the current state of the market (on a global scale) and what your customers need regardless of their location.
By doing this comprehensive background research, you can build an in-depth knowledge of what your customers want, what your global competition looks like and how you can reach and market to an international audience.
2. Create A Mobile Responsive And Fast Loading Website
If you hope to stand out from the wider global competition, you need to make sure that your eTail website is mobile responsive and fast loading. This is because today’s consumers are part of an on-demand culture and they expect results quickly. Not to mention that global mobile commerce (sometimes referred to as mCommerce) sales are predicted to be worth $3.56 trillion by the end of 2021 – and you definitely want to be a part of that!
By creating a mobile-friendly site, you can also help to improve your visibility online and rank higher in search engines. This will help you to stand out from the competition – something which is crucial in a global marketplace.
3. Create Region-Specific Sites And Add Geo-locators
One of the great things about technology is that even the smallest changes can make a huge difference to an online shoppers experience. So, it’s important that you consider both local and global preferences to ensure a strong customer experience. One of the simplest but most effective ways to do this is by adding a geo-locator to your eTail website.
This will then scan the location of user IP addresses and show them the corresponding local version of your eTail website. This does, however, mean you need to have a local version of your site. For example, you might have a site for the UK, US, EU, China, etc. You should also ensure that once the geo-locater has pinpointed the correct region that your goods then appear with the prices listed in their local currency rather than your own.
These personalised touches can be hugely important to making international sales and growing your brand globally. Not to mention that 40% of global consumers won’t buy goods in other languages and prefer to be greeted by the website in their native language.
4. Offer International Shipping And Returns
Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to make your eTail business global is to offer international shipping and returns. Otherwise, your global audience won’t even bother trying to buy goods from you.
Therefore, you will need to ensure you choose a courier or postal service that offers international shipping options, but you also need to consider the rates of shipping your goods and make sure your postage and packaging rates reflect this.
For example, shipping goods to America might be cheaper than shipping to Asia, so your site needs to show real-time carrier fees, so there are no hidden surprises when the consumer goes to check out of their basket at the end of their shopping experience.
Similarly, you need to make it possible for them to return their goods without too much hassle. After all, consumers are going to be reluctant to buy from a company if they are told they cannot return the goods should they be dissatisfied. As such, you must try to make international returns as hassle-free as possible for your customers.
5. And Don’t Forget To Set Up International Payments
As well as setting up international shipping, you also need to be able to accept payments from different locations and cultures. For example, in the UK, PayPal is a hugely popular payment method, whereas people in China tend to prefer AliPay. Credit cards can also be an important way to take payments as these can be used internationally.
But essentially, the more payment options your website is able to offer, the better this will be for your customers and the more likely you are to make an international sale.
6. Shake Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy
And finally, another important aspect you need to consider when making your eTail business global is how customers are going to know that you’ve gone international. The answer to this is going to be your digital marketing efforts.
When you decide to make the move to a global business, you need to ramp up your marketing efforts to spread the word and increase your visibility on a global scale. And there are serval ways you can do this:
- Through targeted advertising – you can make this location-specific as well
- By creating great content aimed at your different audiences, for example, targeting their specific national awareness days, celebrations or localized issues
- By boosting your search engine optimization, targeting more location-specific keywords, and by focusing more on local SEO to increase your visibility and rankings
Then, once you’ve begun ramping up your global marketing efforts, you should make good use of your website analytics to track how your campaigns are going, where most of your traffic is coming from and how you can better target different nations.
This will help you to transform your eTail store into a global brand.
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