By Neil Jones on 18 April 2012 @ 5:14 PM.
Breaking into international marketing as an e-commerce vendor might seem intimidating, but in reality it’s a wonderful marketing opportunity for anyone willing to engage in regionalization and quality translation. Don’t let timidity keep you locked into your domestic market. Let’s take a look at some solid advice for would-be international marketers.
Internationally, fraud is a much more common occurrence than it is in most domestic markets. Dealing with fraud and fraudulent orders should be a top concern for anyone looking to expand into the international market. Payment processing services and software that check consumer information like security codes, shipping addresses, etc, are a good start, but ultimately a little foot-and-phonework can be your best friend in this area.
If an order looks fishy, don’t wait around to get bitten. Check things out. Call banks, verify addresses to credit card holders, and be proactive.
Your carts should be programmed to select various geographically determined factors based on your location relative to the client’s. You might offer free shipping in Canada, for instance, but Taiwan is another matter entirely! Be mindful of this principle as it relates to promotional offers like shipping savings, bulk discounts, etc.
There aren’t many carriers who handle international shipping on a regular, reliable schedule. Your standard postal service is the one that pops to mind most readily, but you will find difficulties when posting your orders to international customers.
FedEx and UPS offer a broader selection of shipping alternatives, but their rates are generally steeper. As discussed above, shipping solutions should be offered on a geographical basis so no customer sees options that aren’t available to them. Cutting out options that exist but don’t provide a profit is also a no-brainer.
Understanding the postal codes of the countries with which you do business is key to building a reputation as a reliable online vendor. Mistakes in province or state labeling can result in failed deliveries, so giving the customers the option to type their location rather than select from drop-down lists can save you some grief in the long run.
Letting customers type their own addresses also gets rid of the problem of unintentional or unwitting discrimination. Many addresses abroad may be longer than a typical American or UK vendor for example, would think to provide for in their menu construction, so it’s important to accommodate longer or more complex addresses by making sure your menu and labeling systems support them. Sometimes you might be called on to engage directly with the customer to figure out the best way to get their parcel to them, but that’s just part of being a vendor.
Google Checkout, electronic transfers, PayPal and credit cards are staple methods of online commerce transactions in most countries, and understanding which payment methods are most common to which areas and how to accommodate variation is part of providing quality service. If your clients in a given area use PayPal exclusively for international transactions, then you’re missing out in a serious way if you’re not using PayPal to support your business endeavors.
Taxes, duties, production restrictions and regulations and a hundred other minor bureaucratic headaches can combine to make shipping internationally a dicey prospect, but gaining a working understanding of these systems isn’t terribly difficult. Hiring a localization specialist can help get you over the worst of this economic culture shock so you can start providing your clients with the entire range of your services and products.
This content was published by an author that has no affiliation with Clubnet Search Marketing, we will sometimes publish content from guest bloggers and the views, opinions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of Clubnet Search Marketing.