1. Seize the opportunity
Most companies are ready to export a long time before they feel they’re ready. The UK is one of the world’s most advanced e-commerce economies in terms of the brands, service and services we have online. Our businesses are truly world class; consumers globally recognise that and shop on UK sites as a result.
2. Analyse your customer base
Look at which countries customers visiting your domestic website are coming from, it will give you a good idea of which countries to prioritise initially.
3. Don’t narrow your target audience too much
For example, we know that 81 per cent of SMEs on eBay export to five or more countries and much of that international trade is from buyers around the world visiting the merchant’s domestic store.
4. Payment methods
Ensure you accept international payment methods (such as credit cards and PayPal). If customers can’t pay for goods they won’t buy from you.
5. Getting shipping right
Consumers are looking for speedy (three to five day delivery in EU, ten to 14 days in the rest of world), low cost, and reliable shipping services. In some countries (e.g. the US) tracking is also considered to be the retail standard. Many good merchants offer the customer a choice of shipping service: one cheap, untracked service and one tracked, fast but more expensive service.
Once you’ve built up an international business from customers visiting your domestic site, consider translating your products into other languages.
7. Be strategic about your products
On average your best selling products domestically will be your best selling products internationally, so focus on those first.
8. Minimise your upfront investment while you test
Test as many countries with as many products/propositions as you can to find the right combination for you before committing to any significant investment. This way you’ll figure out which products are going to maximise profits for you.
Murray Lambell, Director, Cross Border Trade, eBay Europe at eBay.
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