How to sell across borders successfully

Beyond giant corporations, online marketplaces have made cross-border exporting available to a large number of SMEs (small and medium enterprises), allowing them to expose their products to a larger client base in a simple and effective manner. 

Cross-border SME exports, for example, accounted for nearly a third (32%) of all UK export activity in 2018, with a major percentage of this business taking place in European markets.

The lines between online and offline shopping are frequently blurred in eCommerce. Customers may now choose from a variety of sellers all over the world, making it necessary for brands and online retailers to present their items to a worldwide audience.

Exporting across different nations is an important component of many firms' growth strategies, big and small, but doing so successfully isn't always easy. With this in mind, we'll go through the importance of selling to a worldwide audience and some of the things you can do to make cross-border sales a success.

Why should I sell to a worldwide audience?
Before we look at some of the strategies you might use to sell online across borders, we'll start by laying out some of the most compelling reasons for expanding a local business into the worldwide market.

  • Boosting visibility to a larger audience  
Selling online is a fantastic way for merchants to expand their presence internationally, gain access to a large number of new customers, and boost profits.

  • Supply in-demand items 
The majority of customers use the eCommerce sector to get products and services that aren't available in their own country. This is an opportunity for your company to capitalise on and provide things that are in great demand.

  • Better stability
Businesses are supposed to vary due to profits and losses, but constant fluctuations can make operating your business a little more difficult. You can transport your items to other nations online to level out your business and avoid these unprecedented variations. In turn, this will provide your business with much better security and stability. 

How to get started: 
If you're considering expanding your business online for the first time, you'll need to plan ahead before diving in. Here are five crucial points to consider:

  • Choose the markets that are most appropriate for your company
First and foremost, conduct market research and establish who your overseas customers are. You should also think about where your product is in high demand and determine who your main market competitors are.

According to PayPal research, cross-border purchasing is most common in Portugal, Ireland, and Peru, with China being the most popular destination for global online customers. 

  • Select the appropriate channels
Once you've decided where you'll start selling online, you'll need to choose the correct marketing approach to go along with it. 

If you want to sell to a Chinese audience, for example, you need to be aware that China's digital marketing landscape is very different from that of Western countries, with Baidu dominating rather than Google. If you want to get into the Russian eCommerce sector, you should know that Yandex is the most popular search engine, although it is fading in popularity in other Eastern European nations.

Local targeting is quite simple on Facebook and Google, but it's worth exploring alternative marketing channels that are popular in the nations you're targeting.

  • Payment options
According to a Baymard Institute study, more than two-thirds of online shopping carts are abandoned. According to the study, a major number of those missed opportunities were due to a lack of payment options on the checkout page, so make sure you're offering the payment method that your target market prefers. 

In Europe, for example, a majority of eCommerce payments are made with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, but India and other Asian countries prefer cash on delivery.

  • Understand different tax regulations
Selling globally needs more than simply deciding where to go and acting as if it were a natural extension of your native market. You should also be informed of the country's cross-border eCommerce legislation and how they apply to your products. 

Determine whether or not tariffs and taxes will affect the landing cost (the total price you spend to deliver an item) of any products you want to sell overseas, and inform buyers of any additional payments upfront. 

Tariffs may be decreased or abolished entirely if your country has a free-trade agreement in place with any of the countries you wish to sell into and your product category is covered.

Expanding your local or eCommerce business can be a very risky venture but it can be incredibly rewarding if done correctly with the right strategies. 

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