Telling the truth about SME life today

Top tips for trading

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With the UN expecting that 3bn people will be online within the next two years, the growth potential is significant, for those businesses that seize the opportunity and target customers overseas.

If you’re interested in selling to or doing business abroad, here are things to consider.

Know your market

Before entering a market, it’s important to learn as much as you can beforehand about a countrys business environment, its customs and social norms, as well as its political and legal systems.

Take good advice

If you want to start up a business abroad or sell to one, be well advised. Make use of the knowledge and services of institutes, branch organisations and government authorities. It is also important to do due diligence prior to entering into contracts or other commercial arrangements so do contact reliable consultants and law firms for legal advice and dont underestimate the need for quality checking in foreign countries.

Think global but build local

Building up and maintaining good relations are essential for doing business abroad. Invest time and effort in building up and maintaining relations and it will pay dividends. Dont focus on potential business partners only, but also on regional institutes, such as local authorities and branch organisations. If possible find a reliable local partner to speed up market entry, especially in the early stages. Your partner will help you understand the cultural expectations of consumers and introduce you to local companies and business contacts that can add value to your product or service.

Exploit online growth

E-commerce is booming worldwide. Three factors are propelling growth of e-commerce in the country: the use of credit cards and the propensity to use them online, improved logistics for delivering goods to customers, and the reduced price of connectivity.

Trade securely online and instill trust

If you want your business to prosper, you need to make potential customers feel comfortable shopping with you and to trust the site they are buying from. This means investing in safeguards like identity verification and secure payment on your site, and implementing auto-complete, contact data validation systems that validate name, address, email, mobile and landline data and help to create a frictionless experience for the end-user. Luckily for businesses, technology now exists to help companies succeed internationally and all you need to do is shop around for the right solution for your business.

Deliver on your promise

To succeed in business you need to deliver on your promise. For many businesses, especially retailers, this means ensuring the goods are shipped or delivered safely to the consumer, so having the correct address and contact details is therefore vital. Businesses need to have a data quality management (DQM) strategy in place and to instill processes and technologies that ensure the right data is accurately captured at all customer interaction points, whether it is the telephone, e-commerce website or EPOS for example. 

Geo-locational data combined with address information can increase the chances of successful delivery, so it’s worth investing in such datasets. Further, regular records de-duplication and cleansing is essential to maintaining a healthy customer database and reducing costly mis-deliveries and returns.

Matthew Furneaux is Head of International ID Registration, GBGroup.

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