One of the key features of the Internet is that it opens up a world wide market for buying and selling. This means that with very little in the way of extra effort, a company can reach a massive market place that at one time would have been almost impossible with out significant time spent in travel and planning.
Planning an E-Commerce Website to Reach International Customers
While this is a great opportunity for small companies and individuals to enter the world wide market, there are some key elements that often get overlooked. Selling internationally is not simply a case of setting up an ecommerce website and sitting back and waiting for the orders to come rolling in. There are some important pieces of planning and preparation that need to take place first. This is as applicable to the company selling high end and high value products as it is to an individual looking to make a few dollars by selling handmade items through a small ecommerce site. Getting the foundations right will help to build a good, sound international business.
Reduce Any Barriers to Purchase
Anything that makes the purchase decision complicated or protracted is putting a barrier in front of the potential customer. In addition to sorting out obvious features such as whether or how to take international payments, there are some other key aspects of setting up an ecommerce web site to sell internationally.
Even if the target customer base is solely English speaking, understanding language differences is an important part of the planning process. It is important that the website is clear and concise with any product descriptions and that there is no room for any misunderstandings. The saying, ‘divided by a common language’, is as relevant today as it has always been . Many countries outside of the US call ´Diapers‘ by the name ‘Nappies‘. A website selling baby products would need to know this so international visitors to the site could find what they require quickly. This is also important for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes to ensure that the website is actually found by prospective international customers.
Many countries use different measurements values and as such providing decimal or imperial equivalent measurements will be a service to prospective customers. While it is tempting to think that a customer can easily find out the information themselves, when building a successful international ecommerce website it is important to make it as easy as possible for the customer. At the very least, when building the website a conversion feature should be included so the customer can make their own conversions.
Unless it is absolutely necessary, telling a customer to ’email for a delivery cost’ should be avoided. Not only does this mean that the customer may go elsewhere while they are waiting for an answer, it also means that somebody needs to be on hand to give an answer. Many products are a standard weight and giving a delivery options and costs is a significant benefit to international customers.